Saturday, November 1, 2008

Visualizing and reaching for the brass ring


By Michelle LaBrosse

As we end 2008 and 2009 rolls into place, most people reflect on where they are now and where they'd like to see themselves the near future. Visualizing a goal is part one of the process. Part two, however, is where most people tend to fail. We all know the story about resolutions that are set in the beginning of the year, but soon after that brass ring seems to disappear.

What's missing? I find that most often, people do not take the time to really support the visual target with an action plan to fully achieve their goal. Instead, they leave it to chance that they will remain on top of it and it'll magically happen.

In project management, we know that goals have a beginning, an end, and an entire road map in between, with many rest stops along the way to review where we've been and where we have left to go. We know that one wrong turn will take us on an entirely different adventure, with a completely new and, perhaps, unwanted results.

To keep on track, you must first visualize, and then set your objective. Goal setting helps you define what you want, how to achieve it and how to identify any issues that would distract you from reaching that goal.

At the office, goal setting maps out which avenues employees need to take. It also builds confidence in team members as they individually and collectively reach short-term and long-term goals. You can use email within your team and between your teams to discuss your goals and to work forward in developing your goals. You can also use Outlook shared folders (and, especially, SharePoint) as a great way to organize any goal-setting projects.


There is the SMART mnemonic which I like to use to help define how my team should communicate a goal.


Don't leave words to be interpreted; be as specific as possible. For example, instead of saying something like "I need to lose weight" you would say, "I need to lose 15 lbs in 12 weeks."


How can you measure the success of the goal. In the example above, are you losing weight each week or tracking on a per month basis?


Realistically, have the deadlines and expectations been set in an attainable manner? If the goal seems impossible, it's easy to let it go.


Ask yourself why this goal has been set? Does it make sense for a bigger strategy? For the example above, perhaps you're attending an event where you'll be photographed a lot and would like to look your very best.