November 9, 2021 Setting Goals and Creating a Sense of Purpose

We all know how important it is to navigate our career – and at certain junctures – it’s SUPER important to review the road travelled, where you’re headed and how you feel about where you are. Whether you’re early in your career journey or very well established, check-ins are a MUST. This can include discussions with your manager, coach, or any trusted ally. It’s not a ‘nice to do’ step, but a critical self-assessment that helps review progress, evaluate strengths and take a practical look at what’s ahead.

You will agree that doing a pulse check at regular intervals (quarterly, six-monthly or annually) won’t amount to much without clearly established goals. I’m talking about the goals that create a sense of purpose and lead to fulfilling outcomes. For instance, professional development goals to help you land your next job; goals to achieve your business priorities; performance goals for your job; personal health goals…and so on. Without goals, how will you create a plan for a path forward?

Why setting goals is important

Setting both personal and professional goals have enormous benefits;

  • Identifying what you plan to achieve during a particular time period keeps you focused and gives you direction. Without your goals and an outline of the actions to achieve them…how will you know when you get there?
  • When your goals, actions and milestones are specific, you’re able to stay on top of what’s important and can make changes to your plan where necessary. You learn to create contingencies. Your achievements will then drive you to stay motivated and energized.
  • The path towards attaining your goals might turn out to be more challenging that you expected. This brings me to the importance of measuring how far you’ve traveled towards your goals. Taking stock of where you are also gives you the opportunity to assess your skills and look for ways to further develop them. You’re now adding more to your abilities and capabilities, and therefore building a more solid toolbox of competencies.
  • Your goals from the end of one year can form the bridge to the next year. Here’s a chance to challenge and advance yourself…which by the way sharpens your mental (and sometimes physical) agility as you work towards stretching your capabilities.
  • Being diligent about setting goals and achieving them also enhances positive energy that goes a long way towards improving mental wellness.
  • By looking back at your goals, you now have a library of your accomplishments. This asset gives you clarity as well as content to update your Resume, and to prepare you for any interviews.

So, let’s now take a peek at why setting goals can make a profound difference to teams. When you have responsibility for leading others, the numerous internal and external demands on you can often take your focus away from how your team is coping. It goes without saying that you want to bring out the best in your team, right? There are many benefits that goal setting can add to what you’re already doing.   

Partnering with your team members to establish goals can have a significant impact on how well they perform.

  • To begin with, it gives them a sense of purpose and creates alignment between their work and the company’s goals.
  • Establishing clear and meaningful goals minimizes confusion about accountability and deadlines. It’s the first step towards empowering your team.  
  • When team members have priorities to go after, they collaborate with others, and this improves the lines of communication while building trust. When you encourage these working relationships, they learn the power of building partnerships.
  • By coming together to achieve common goals, team members will encourage higher levels of engagement as they establish protocols for how they will work effectively and efficiently. Whenever you can, take the opportunity to enable teamwork and problem solving in an inclusive way. Remember that an inclusive work environment is a cornerstone to creating a healthy culture.
  • When specific and clear goals are in place, you get to reference them internally and externally, especially to celebrate wins! This is a great way to elevate your leadership presence.   
  • Parceling out targets and other priorities that will support their goals also gives you the platform to delegate and improve your own skills such as coaching and giving feedback.

In all of this, perform regular check-ins to track your team’s progress. They need to hear from you.

People want to know how they can make a difference.

I can think of a few instances when teams that I worked with seemed mired in chaos. Upon reflection, I can see that there was always ambiguity and misunderstanding regarding priorities and who did what! You might also know of similar stories where people were unsure about what was expected of them.

Yes, it all starts with creating that sense of purpose with clear, specific, and relevant goals.

Now, with all things being equal, this will ultimately drive a sense of belonging for your team members. Again, it matters to people when they know that they can add value, as it gives them purpose and a sense of belonging. Think about how relevant and important this is, especially in hybrid and remote work settings.  As these working arrangements continue to evolve, remember to lead the way to encourage a stronger culture of inclusion for everyone. Goal setting is one very important practice to keep people on track to achieve results, improve partnerships, and enjoy achievements.

Make it a habit to establish goals – and while doing so, be mindful and be purposeful!

Giraffe App - Creators Vas Nair and Sobha Nair

Hi there!

We’re Vas and Sobha Nair, two sisters that have lived and breathed all aspects of human resources for over 50 years between us. Giraffe was born from our global experience coaching leaders and business owners navigate the same tricky workplace issues and discussions that you face. We know the best practices and proven processes that help turn workplace conflict on its head – and we want to share all of this and more with you in Giraffe.

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