How Will You Know When You Get There?

You’ve had the 360-degree developmental assessment or perhaps a performance discussion with your manager.  He or She looks up with a smile and says “now that we have agreed on your goals for development, when do you think you could get a written list to me?”  You are relieved; the performance review went fairly well and the expectations for next year’s performance, while not within easy reach, are reasonable. So, when asked to produce a written list of goals, you think…”no problem”.  That is, until you sit down to actually produce this seemingly “innocent” document! 

How do you know how to write clear, quantifiable, behavioral goals?

Most of us did not have “Writing Effective Performance Goals” as part of our education or training.  Where do you turn for direction on producing this not so innocent document?   After all, goal statements will probably be an integral part of next year’s performance evaluation.  In my experience, resources are not easily found.


If I were successful in achieving this objective;
            What would be happening now?
            What would be different?
            What would I be doing more of?
            What would I be doing less of?
            What would my reports be saying about me?
            What would my reports be doing differently?
            What would my team members be saying or doing differently?
            What would my manager be saying or doing differently?
            How would I be spending my time?

These are just some of the types of questions that assist you in beginning to get detailed in your thoughts.

Crafting goals in a clear, behavioral manner can be a daunting task for many of us.  Like any skill, you get better at it with practice.  Review as you go along.  A good coach could also be a resource in goal development.  Remember to do your reports a favor by mentoring them on how to develop useful goals.

Too often goal statements are cumbersome “afterthoughts” with little practical utility.  If developed thoughtfully, with specificity and the ability to be quantified, goal statements can serve as a useful map and record for continuous self-improvement. 

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