Design your future by using learning, behavior, and performance goals
Many business environments have competing demands that make it difficult for any one person, team, or company to focus. It’s one reason so many firms struggle to keep up everything—from working through growth plateaus to achieving something new, especially when everyone is already “busy.” Unfortunately, these are the very challenges that hold organizations, teams, and individuals back, especially when setting goals. Researchers Edwin Locke and Gary Latham wrote about Goal-Setting Theory in A Theory of Setting & Task Performance (1990) and suggested multiple attributes affect goal attainment. The essence of their findings is very relatable and practical for daily activities. In short, setting no goal creates a lack of focus; an easy goal fails to provide positive challenge and motivation, and vague goals are too undefined. Moreover, criteria must be met in order to help ensure successful goal attainment. If a person doesn’t have the ability, resources, commitment, or objective feedback on progress towards goal attainment, then they’re less likely to successfully persist toward completion. There is, however, another way to think about setting goals.
Reverse Engineer Your Future
When thinking about Goal-Setting Theory, there’s a totally different way to think about success and engagement. Here are three ways to increase your confidence as a business leader by using learning, behavior, and performance goals.
- Leverage 3 different goal types. First, get a handle on where you want to go before you start going anywhere. Using these three types of goals to grow will help to frame your desired future state, the end result, or objective. Once your future is in hand, turn it into a SMART performance goal. An example could be, “increase net income by 10 percentage points by DD/MM/YY.” Second, build two behavior goals around it. These behavior goals are the kind of ongoing activities that serve as measures of effectiveness or efficiency towards achieving your performance goal and create key performance indicators along the way. To continue this example, behavior goals could include “achieve 40% customer retention rate through DD/MM/YY” and “get customer acquisition costs to x$ per by DD/MM/YY.” Then, finally, develop and implement three learning goals that complement your behavior goals. In this instance, they could be “measure current customer churn rate by DD/MM/YY,” “identify the current cost per lead by DD/MM/YY,” and “develop and launch a lead generation funnel by DD/MM/YY.” By reverse-engineering your end-game, it makes the process of learning, behaving, and performing more manageable. And, soon, your future will become more tangible.
- Answer four questions about goal commitment before starting. Make sure anyone involved is up for the task. These four questions will help to determine the likelihood of success. If you can answer, “yes,” to all four, then you’re set. If not, then you need to rethink your goal, strategy, plan, or all of the above. It’s important to construct goals in a way that ensures the proper ability, resources, commitment, and feedback are in place. Otherwise, as Gary Latham and Gerard Seijts suggest, success could be compromised.
- Use STRE.ME’s free Strategic Boost Template to develop a manageable, actionable, and measurable work plan. As a busy professional, you know how sometimes it feels like quite the accomplishment just to check email, let alone get ahead of anything else. This free template is made for those moments when fear, anxiety, and panic set in about a new project. STRE.ME’s Strategic Boost Template will give you a manageable, actionable, and measurable work plan to create value. Moreover, you’ll gain confidence, focus, and a clear vision of success.
Bring Your Future To Life
While pursuing a goal, future state, end result, or outcome may seem overwhelming, this process can make the process more manageable and increase your confidence. And, when that happens, you’ll increase the likelihood of success and engagement towards goal attainment. Moreover, the more you consistently engage in goal pursuit, the more confidence you have, which will help you to build and sustain an abundance mindset. Finally, STRE.ME’s Strategic Boost Template makes the process that much more pertinent. Everything you need to increase your confidence as a business leader is in hand. Just start by designing your future with performance, behavior, and learning goals.