Listen while on the go:
It is hard to believe that we have entered into the last two months of 2015. We are wrapping up our first fifteen years of the millennium. In case you blinked and missed it, now is the time to pause, reflect, and think ahead to goal setting for next year. Do not wait until December or January. It might be too late.
As I write this blog for you, I am listening to Queen’s Under Pressure. “Pressure pushing down on me…” Listen to the karaoke version of the song with me.
We are constantly under pressure, aren’t we? Typically, the answer is yes, in some form or fashion we are under pressure; especially with work, we have deadlines to meet and goals to exceed.
So, let’s take a look at just three focus areas to help get you in goal setting mode and to help alleviate [potential] year-end pressure:
- Corporate Development
- Professional Development
- Personal Development
Before diving in, I think it’s important to acknowledge that even just these three areas may have overlap. In serial entrepreneur, Creel Price’s published post “My Weirdly Obsessive Annual Goal Setting Ritual,” he elects to focus on seven areas: Career, Relationships, Personal Growth, Financial, Spiritual, Health and Fitness, Fun and Adventure. Whatever your annual tradition may be for goal setting, no matter. Just begin. Give yourself the freedom to stumble through the process. My goal in writing this post: Move you to action.
As you wrap up the year, your company may have dedicated time to reflect on this year and plan for next year. If that’s the case, feel free to hop on down to the other two sections of this post. However, if that’s not the case, I highly encourage you to incorporate this area of focus when goal setting.
In what ways are you enhancing your organization?
To get you started on some new ideas, here are a few of Intero Advisory’s corporate development goals that we have continually held each other accountable to throughout the year:
- Capture client success studies: While our individual LinkedIn recommendations give high clout to our Intero team, we realized we had not captured stories from our own clients that gave real metrics and detailed tactics to success. We listed our proudest triumphs and began working with our clients to tell their stories.
- Launch online learning platform: Many consultants can attest that their most valuable IP (intellectual property) is their own expertise. This specific type of IP has its limitations though. So, we invested in technology that can give our current and future clients greater access to our content. Making the decision to launch a new product or service comes with its fair share of good challenges, but when the upside outweighs the downside, it can be well worth it.
- Rebrand and launch new website: As we kicked off our fourth year as a company in 2015, we decided it was time for a refresh. We completed this initiative within the first half of the year, but we are constantly tweaking and enhancing our new website to make it more valuable, informative and accessible to visitors.
- Develop an Ebook for companies (Download Intero’s new Ebook here): We know how difficult it can be to manage a company presence on LinkedIn. From the Company Page to all of the individual employee Profiles, it is no small task. So, we worked hard to compile our resources into a concise document to help companies move the “LinkedIn needle” within their organization.
What initiatives are you focusing on to positively impact your business? Can you swap out any of Intero’s examples above with your own corporate examples?
In what ways are you investing in your career? I am fortunate to be surrounded by overwhelmingly impressive professionals every day in Greenville, South Carolina. I believe that true growth develops through relationships with others.
Earlier this year I joined a start-up peer group. We named ourselves the Young Executive Board. When we began we agreed on our underlying purpose*, but we did not have a formula for the rules of engagement (i.e. structure, schedule, group make-up, etc.). And you know what? We were okay with that.
I would be remiss if I did not give a shout out to these amazing peers, whom I have gotten to know this year and get to “do [work] life” with as we continue to grow and develop our careers. These are stellar under-35ers who all bring something unique to the table each time we meet. Each conversation we share together is in a trusted and confidential environment. For me, they are one way that I manage pressure and push myself when goal setting. I vet ideas through them, vent frustrating experiences to seek guidance, and celebrate wins to learn from and replicate.
Our Young Executive Board is pretty fabulous. Who makes up your YEB?
Maybe you are a more seasoned executive. Are you involved in a trusted peer group? Who can you lean on for an unbiased business opinion? Who do you respect that can hold you accountable to your goals? What are you doing to push yourself professionally to the next level?
* “Committed professionals who see the value in developing a group of like-minded individuals to have ongoing conversations about the growing pains of developing businesses.”
Personal development is equally important to corporate and professional development. When you neglect this third focus area when goal setting, you are inhibiting your chances of succeeding in the first two developmental areas.
In 2013 I participated in the inaugural Successful Entrepreneurship series in Greenville, where I got to hear Dan Waldschmidt speak. Something he said more than two years ago stuck with me:
“You should not try to achieve a work-life balance, but instead strive for harmony between the two.”
When your professional and personal worlds work in harmony together, it is amazing what can be accomplished. Interestingly, in 2014 I set a few personal development goals, but I kept them private; I did not tell anyone what they were. Not for fear of failure, but because I thought I would have the discipline to stick with them myself. Can you guess what happened to those ambitions? Nothing. I did not hit a single one of them – which says a lot considering I’m generally a pretty motivated person.
I could not stand to miss those goals again this year, so you know what I did differently? I shared my goals. I developed accountability partners who had similar personal goals and we have walked through achieving and living out those goals together throughout the year.
By sharing my goals with someone, I also had to accept the fact that most of my goals needed to be adjusted; they weren’t SMART goals: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Results-oriented and Time-constrained.
Do you want to exercise a certain number of times next year to shed some weight? Do you want to schedule your PTO (paid-time-off) in advance so you actually give yourself a break throughout the year and mentally recharge? Do you want to apply for a leadership program or an audition or a new class to tap into a new hobby?
The lesson here is that your ability to hit your goals may have less to do with you being motivated than it does with having accountability to those goals. Also, test your goals against the SMART goal guidelines and be prepared to make adjustments.
In conclusion, let’s go back to a lyric from the Queen song: “Turned away from it all […] Sat on a fence, but it don’t work…”
Sitting on a fence and not taking action yields nothing. No change. No movement. Do not fall into the ‘paralysis by analysis’ trap. Similar to YEB, we did not know what getting together would look like, but we were willing to try it out. We were willing to jump in because we had the common goal of professional development/growth.
This Thursday during my dedicated “quiet time,” I am determined to give myself the freedom to think without restrictions and use the three development areas as my foundation to get started in my goal setting for next year.
Take these three development thrusts: corporate, professional, personal and carve out time for goal setting in these focus areas. By devoting time to goal setting, you mitigate potential pressure overload. So, when have you reserved the time in your calendar to take action?