Confessions of an Extrovert: We Need Understanding, Too
Manage Your Polarities or They Will Manage You

Set the right goalsAre you starting to lose focus on your goals? If so, you’re not alone. This is the time of year a lot of people lose their focus.

The problem is that annual goal-setting doesn’t work. You can’t plan an entire year and know in advance all the goals you will need to achieve. It’s likely that many of your goals are no longer motivating and many no longer make sense.

If goal-setting hasn’t been working for you, here’s how to set the right goals that will get you where you want to go:

1. Always keep your vision in mind while choosing goals.

The point of setting goals is to support you in moving toward your vision. Without a clear vision, your goals might not take you where you want to go.

There’s a big difference between a vision and a goal. Vision is your destination. Goals are the milestones that mark your journey. They quantify and define the steps you take along the way.

Where your vision is broad and big, goals are tangible and specific. They answer questions like “when?’ and “how?” and “how much?”  SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Here are three guidelines to keep in mind when choosing goals:

  • Look for high-leverage goals – those that will allow you to leapfrog forward.
  • Consider goals that will have a long-term payoff, even at a short-term price. For example, you might choose some inexperienced high potential players for your team, with a plan to help them gain the skills and experience.
  • Look for goals that will give you some quick wins. This will help you see progress and stay motivated.

2. Be willing to reset your goals.

Don’t get so focused on your goals that you forget about your vision. Change is inevitable. It is said it takes 1001 mid-course corrections to reach the moon.

The trick is to stay focused on your vision, and, as in sailing, “tack” to your destination. Change your course depending on the winds and other conditions.

3. Revisit your vision frequently.

Sometimes teams drift off course without realizing it. And so can individuals. To avoid waking up one day wondering how you got so far off course, revisit your goals frequently and use them as an early warning system to detect when you are off course.

4. Set up systems and practices that support your goals.

On a personal level – what structures and routines do you need to set up to develop the habits that will support your vision? – regular exercise time?

For a team, look at your formal and informal ways of working together. Consider processes for communication, accountability, training and rewards. For example, if teamwork is one of your goals– are there rewards for team performance or is the focus on individual contributions? Systems that are not aligned with your vision and goals will derail you and your team.

5. Set goals for relationships as well as tasks.

The journey is as important as the destination. Are your actions consistent with your values and where you want to go? Make sure you have a good feedback system in order to know.

6. Set goals as you go.

Vision is about COURAGE.  Goals are about TAKING ACTION.

As soon as you identify your vision, start to live it.  You can’t create a vision for a healthy life and continue a diet of junk food. As a leader, not only must you say what’s important, you need to demonstrate it – consistently. People watch what you do more closely than what you say.

Taking action means not waiting for all the details to be worked out. When you are clear about where you’re going, and have set goals for the next steps, the entire path does not be clear. As long as you keep your vision in mind, the next steps will become clear as you accomplish your goals.


Here’s a more in-depth explanation of the relationship between vision and goals and how to make your goals work for you.

Six Tips to Set Goals That Will Get You Where You Want to Go.

Confessions of an Extrovert: We Need Understanding, Too
Manage Your Polarities or They Will Manage You

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