Karl from tenfold.com reached out to me regarding this article from last year, and found it valuable. So, I thought I would repost it for you. Also, Ten Fold has an article on the same topic you will find useful as well. Please click here and take a look. Enjoy!
Goal development is an integral component for personal, professional, and organizational success. Goals drive direction to produce a result. Without a goal it is impossible to know where you are going. It would be like getting into your car and driving without a destination; there is no point in doing so. Now, my wife used to get into her car and just drive without a destination. But in this case, she just wanted to get out on her own and just think. The goal was not the destination, rather the opportunity to process her thoughts.
Have you ever heard someone say that they do not create goals, that way they cannot fail? Maybe even you have said this. The idea is, without a goal there is no chance of failing since there is no targeted result. This is a “wing it” type of lackadaisical attitude towards achieving something. This attitude is often aimed at some form of personal development preceded by a past failure.
The reality is most people create goals (sometimes subconsciously) to accomplish something. “I am not going to do anything today” is still a goal, with the result of accomplishing nothing. People with the idea of “no goal making for me” or often referring to a stretch goal such as a college degree or losing a few pounds. In the work place, this could be increasing sales by 10% each quarter, taking on a new routine task, or improving a process and reducing paper usage.
So we know goals are important, but what is a good goal to set and how is it developed? The acronym SMART has been used to help guide the goal development process. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. The SMART process is a great way to clearly identify the goal, how to know when it has been achieved, and some important characteristics of the goal.
Let’s define SMART
A goal must be as specific as possible. Instead of losing weight or increasing sales, you want to lose 15 pounds in 3 months by going to the gym 3 times per week or increase sales by 10% in 45 days by contacting 10 more potential clients per week. Some goals are a bit more challenging to specify, but the more clear the desired result is, the easier it will be to monitor and assess. Answer the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why) to help the goal become more specific.
A goal must be measured otherwise it is impossible to identify if progress is being made or when the goal is achieved. Measuring progress becomes some level of accountability and helps you remain focused on what is important. A measureable goal includes how many or how much and identifies what success looks like. The goal to lose 15 pounds in 3 months could be measured by checking weight loss each month and tracking the frequency of working out. Success looks like 15 pounds lost in 3 months.
A goal must stretch the individual or organization enough to make them work hard, but not so far as to cause unnecessary stress and strain. The goal should be just out of “arms reach.” Too far out and the goal is not likely attainable but too close and the goal will not stretch the individual or organization. An easy goal for someone in sales may be an increase of 10%, a stretch goal may be 25%, and an unattainable goal may be 50%. It is up to the individual or organization to determine what is just out of arms reach. The purpose of a goal is to stretch the individual or organization. This could require more time, training, finances, or a change of attitude.
A goal must be relevant to the person, project, or organizations mission. For example, if an organizations objective is to reduce paper usage across the state by 50% in the next fiscal year, an appropriate goal would be to develop an automated workflow to create and process PDF forms instead of printed forms and increase registered users by 2,000 each quarter.
Additionally, they must be relevant to the individual or organizational conditions. Using the same paper reduction example above, if the cost to become a registered user exceeds the budget of their target audience, then the goal of 2,000 users might not be relevant (or realistic, another “R” word used in the SMART acronym).
A goal must have a suspense. A suspense is the benchmark for which success can be assessed. A lack of a suspense results in a lack of urgency and potential failure.
To wrap it up
Whether you are looking to lose a few pounds, increase sales, or reduce your paper use, a goal may be simple or complex, long in duration or brief, involve an individual or organization. The most important fact to realize is that goals are meant to be achieved.
Samuel Johnson once said that, “people need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” Last week we discussed priorities and goals – what they are, how they are different, how they work with each other, and so on. This week will serve as a little reminder to actually sit down, write out your priorities and goals, review them, and create a continuous reminder – some way that works for you.
It’s not that you don't care, because I know you do, life just gets busy. What’s the quickest way to get these listed out? First, (be honest with yourself here) just think of what is important to you (priorities) and what you want to accomplish in life (goals). If you are struggling to get these down on paper, just start writing anything. You can always clean it up later. Once you have a few items listed, read the instructions below and check out last week’s post for some additional information – this will help.
Okay, I know you already read this, but it’s time to take action. Get your priorities and goals written down, remind yourself of them, and follow them continuously.
Until next time…
When I was going through Officer Candidate School (OCS), we were pushed to the brink (or so I thought) pretty regularly. Early mornings, late nights, long days, lots of sweat, and constant learning. One of the mantras we were taught really stuck with me, well, a lot stuck with me.
When in charge, take charge; when in a leadership position, lead; when in a follower position, follow.
It made sense. If you are in charge or report to someone, then do it. Well, the OCS cadre pushed candidates, placing them under pressure, to see how they respond. If they responded poorly, then additional training (in some form) was required. The purpose of this was to place these leaders into positions where decisions were to be made while under stress, to teach them how to manage stressful situations and lead others – prepare them to lead Soldiers into battle if needed. It made sense, if you are in charge then you better take charge and lead your Soldiers.
So, why was this so valuable? This also holds true in a business or non-profit environment as well. Let’s break this down.
When in charge, take charge.
You are responsible for the situation and you must take control and get the job done. Delegate as needed, provide task and purpose, and see it to completion. Sounds easy, right? How many times have you seen or been in a meeting or office where it was difficult to tell who was in charge – who’s the boss? If this happens, then whoever is in charge, is not taking charge. If this is you, then insert your authority and take charge of the situation. This does not have to be done in an “I’M THE BOSS” way, but make sure that what is supposed to be happening, actually is happening. Whoever is in charge, may not even be the boss. He or she may just be the person responsible for that task, project, or meeting. Still, if you are in charge, take charge.
When in a leadership position, lead.
Similar to when in charge, take charge, this is focused on leading others. If you are in charge, you may have a responsibility to see a task or project through to completion. If you are the leader, you have an obligation to mentor, direct, inspire, motivate, and so on. Leading is more than seeing a task through, it is about building others – building leaders. What happens quite often, is people in leadership positions really are or become managers. Managers are task or product focused – did enough product get delivered on time, is the office running efficiently, and so on. A leader needs to shift some of their efforts from task completion (which is important) to building others. If you are a leader, then lead.
When in a follower position, follow.
From a leadership perspective, following well is just as important as leading well. In fact, following well may actually lead others. Here’s how. Back to OCS… since everyone took their turn leading the class and being a follower, each candidate knew what it was like to lead a group, sometimes it was like herding kittens and others like a symphony in motion. So, the best way to help your peer leader succeed, was to be an exceptional follower. What does that mean? Well, if given a task from the leader, do it to the best of your ability. That’s it. Sure, sometimes our best is not that great, but all you can do is learn and do better.
So, by following well, you show your peers that you care enough to help them succeed, and in turn, they will do the same for you. Additionally, if others see you doing your best, they are more likely to do their best as well, or know that you care for others which inspires and motivates. Think of it this way. How many times have you seen or heard of the subordinate surpassing a superior, and becoming their boss? If that boss struggled to get their former subordinate to cooperate and do their share, what do you think they are most likely to do in return?
When in charge, take charge.
When in a leadership position, lead.
When in a follower position, follow.
To the best of your ability.
I have never been one to dive too deep into politics, mainly because my belief is to take care of others because it is the right thing to do, not for any personal gain. Interestingly enough, caring for others first generally produces greater results for me personally in the long run. So, it works out!
But the recent Presidential election caused me to consider this question, or issue. Is it more important to support the President or the Presidency? We live in a country where we are free to make our own decisions, speak with our own voice, and elect our leadership. How then, or why, do so many choose to protest against our President, to the point of protesting during his inauguration, fighting, or shunning others for supporting him? Again, freedom of speech allows protestors to voice their discontent. But why do it in this way?
I am not making a political stance here. This is about supporting the right to choose, the right to vote. As a country, we elected President Trump, to lead our country for the next 4 years. To me, it would be more practical to support the Presidency, the idea of democracy and a freedom to choose, than to protest just because we can. Whether you like him or not, Mr. Trump is our President, our Commander in Chief, our leader. Support the Presidency if you cannot support the President. Protesting our leaders seems more like protesting against our right to choose. After all, we did choose him, so let’s all support him, at least what he represents – freedom.
This was a brief post, but it is a simple idea – support freedom.
How many people can you supervise, manage, or lead?
I once heard someone brag that they had 12 direct reports while their peer only had 4. I have heard of people having 25 direct reports. My first thought is WOW!, how can all those people receive effective leadership from their boss? How can the boss be an effective leader? The person with 4, that sounds about right. But the rest, that is just insane (if you ask me).
How many people can you supervise? How many can you manage… lead? Is there a difference? Does it really matter? And what difference does it really make if you have 1, 10, or 100 people working for you?
It definitively matters – all of it.
First, let’s frame this question a little better. Is there a difference between supervising, managing, and leading? Of course! And here is my take.
If you are a supervisor, then you are the first line leader to those you that work for you. This generally requires knowledge of how and what your team does (not in a micromanaging way though). Tasks are delegated from you to them, and they report progress and issues directly to you. Chances are good that you provide periodic evaluations to them as well.
If you take this as “I am their supervisor” then you likely take your job seriously and provide regular (quarterly, annually, etc.) reviews and help your team members grow as individuals and as a team. You serve those that work for you and desire to see them succeed.
If you take this role as “I am just the supervisor” then you are probably disengaged and serve as some level of junior management with an additional duty of being responsible for others and their work. You accepted the role for the extra pay.
If you are a manager, then you are probably responsible for a larger group such as a retail store, restaurant, department in an office, and so on. You will have supervisors that report directly to you, and they may have subordinate supervisors as well. Your focus is on the bigger picture (strategy) of your department, store, or group. You receive guidance from your manager (boss, supervisor – leader), develop a plan, and delegate different aspects to your subordinate supervisors to implement.
If you handle your responsibility as “I am their manager” then you will be engaged and provide task and purpose to your subordinate supervisors, and enable them to make decisions. You also understand that they have their own team to supervise and give them the time to work with their team.
If you are “just the manager” then you are likely regurgitating directives from your supervisor and have your subordinates do the work. Little direction or clarification is provided and you are likely to be “checking the box” regarding most of your own duties – completing your piece of the strategic plan, overseeing the development of your subordinate supervisors, and those evaluations or reviews – those will get done some day.
Often, these position (supervisor and manager) can be overwhelming. If you find yourself in a position where you are just the supervisor or manager and you want to be more, ask your leadership for help – they should help you, it is their job. If not, then find someone who will!
If you are a leader, then you are providing motivation and inspiration, task and purpose, guidance and direction to those that work for and around you. Leading effectively will cause others to notice and respond positively, even if they do not work directly for you.
Leaders are distinct from supervisors or manager, or even directors. Supervisors, manager, and directors are titles – if you have the title, then you are one. Leaders, on the other hand, are not titles given to you with a raise. You either are one, or not. They are earned. But, leaders can be found everywhere – the supervisor, manager, employee, team member – anyone! An employee can motivate and inspire others to achieve more, the supervisor can provide clear task and purpose, encouraging them to achieve more for themselves and their team, or the manager can provide guidance and direction. They can all be leaders!
Back to the question, how many people can I supervise?
I look at it this way, what do I want to accomplish with your team? If you merely want to provide some level of oversight and direction, then you can probably supervise or manage 15, 20, who knows how many people – but probably quite a bit. If that is all you want to do, then sure.
Now, if you want to make a real impact, then supervising and managing should include mentoring, regular feedback, constructive criticism, opportunities for personal and professional growth, regular and consistent reviews. You should be open and available to have your team members bring just about any issue to your attention. Do this, and you will become – or be – a leader.
There is a cost to this. If you are really leading others, and fulfilling your leadership duties (mentoring, appraisals, professional development), then you will not have the time to do this for 25 people successfully. Consider the time it will take to do this effectively. Perhaps 5-8 is more reasonable. This will allow you to serve them and your organization well, and see them develop into future leaders themselves.
A solution to this is to develop subordinate leaders and empower them to make lead, manage, and supervise their own teams. This requires the fine art of delegation and can be quite empowering if done correctly.
So what do you choose? Do you ask for more direct reports so you can brag about how many people work directly for you? Or, do you develop others, and truly lead your team to success? The choice is yours.