Setting and achieving work goals

Setting, pursuing, and achieving goals helps you accomplish your career aspirations faster and with less energy.

Creating Goals

Creating goals can be daunting. It is a process so do not feel like you have to get it right the first time. Follow these tips to get started.

Do not turn daily tasks into goals

Do not include your normal obligations unless you see room for improvement. For example, let’s say you are a customer service representative.

A bad goal would be: “Respond to customer inquiries.” This is expected of you.

However, if you think there is room for improvement related to this daily task, you could create the following goal:

“Respond to customer inquiries in half the time as last year”

See what goals already exist for you:

Does your team have a career ladder with milestones you must achieve before a promotion?

Does your team have goals you can help accomplish?

Does your manager or team members see an area where you can grow?

Brainstorm other goals:

Here are some thought-starters:

Personal development: Anything that makes you more effective at your job.

  • Industry-specific certifications
  • Online courses you can take within your discipline
  • Taking a writing class
  • Reading a book about communication techniques

Team development: Anything that makes others more effective at their job:

  • Improve your team’s onboarding curriculum
  • Volunteer to train new team members
  • Set up an intern program
  • Curate industry news for your team and send ready-to-email templates they can send to their customers.

Financial success: Help grow your company’s business

  • Help your business market itself by contributing to marketing channels such as a blog or newsletter.
  • Help pitch new business
  • Develop a new service/product
  • Improve a current service/product so you can increase customer retention rates or increase prices
  • Upsell current clients
  • Find opportunities to sell in products/offerings from other teams

Finding efficiencies: Anything you can do to free up time for more important tasks

  • Create/improve reporting templates
  • Create/improve a process for accomplishing a difficult task
  • Develop internal tools
  • Find something you can outsource to another company at a lower cost while maintaining and/or improving quality

Quantify benefits of goals when possible

Quantifying the benefit of your goal in terms of time/money saved makes it easier to show your impact on the business.

Examples of quantifying goals into time saved:

  • Made reporting process twice as fast saving our team 30 hours per month.
  • Reduced new-hire training time by 25 hours and eliminated an average of 20 hours/month of escalations.

Examples of quantifying goals into more money:

  • Created a new offering that is projected to increase team revenue by 20k per year.
  • Added feature X to service X allowing us to charge X% more per year.

Pursuing & Accomplishing Goals

Create a rough estimate of the time required for each goal.

Again, don’t worry about getting this 100% right the first time. You’ll have plenty of time to revise it.

At the beginning of every week:

Block off time on your calendar to accomplish the goal(s) you’re currently pursuing

Review last week’s progress

  • What got in the way of accomplishing the goal?
  • How you can reduce this next time?
  • Do you need to revise the estimates you created for each goal?

Share your progress in regular meetings with your manager

Share both small and big wins.