Our brains are wired to help us achieve goals. When goals are clear, specific and challenging, our brains naturally propel us to higher performance by releasing dopamine, a pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter, when we achieve the goal.
When our goals are crystal clear, we can begin to define the strategy and tasks to achieve them. Muddy goals cause us to get bogged down in tasks without really getting anywhere.
Getting off the
Goals vs Tasks
Do you show up for work to finish tasks for the day or to move yourself closer to an ultimate goal? People often confuse tasks with goals. Tasks are necessary to reach goals, but they are not goals.
Having clear goals is important in all layers of the organization – personal, team, and organization.
To be more effective and enjoy greater fulfillment at work, divide your goal-setting into three parts.
Most of us don’t think about our personal goals at work. We simply accept our assignments and jump right onto the hamster wheel. In doing so, however, we’re missing an enormous opportunity for motivation, growth, and fulfillment.
When setting your personal goals, ask yourself questions like:
What do I want to do differently?
What do I want to learn?
What is the next role I’d like to strive for?
Tip: Discuss your personal work goals with your manager or career counselor. One or two are enough. When these are aligned with your project goals, your confidence and motivation will take off.
This exercise will also increase your self-awareness and bring you one step closer to a high level of Emotional Intelligence (EI)!
Teams incentivized around the same goal, enjoy strong collaboration, mutual support, and high performance.
It’s a manager’s job to set unambiguous, transparent team goals so that everyone understands the direction of their work. Everyone on the team should know exactly how they are contributing to the goals.
Self-reflection: Are your team goals unclear? You’re not alone! More often than not, people are confused about their team’s goals and furthermore, most managers are completely unaware of this!
Tip: Consider proposing to your manager a goals review meeting with to bring your team into alignment.
Like individuals, companies perform better when they have a clear mission and vision that are understood and embraced organization-wide.
Connection to organization-wide goals fuels motivation and creativity. After all, novel approaches and good ideas can come from anyone in the organization!
Self-reflection: How well do you understand your company’s goals? How connected are you to their mission? Do you understand how your work contributes to it?
You will feel much more included in driving your individual goals when you know how they fit into the bigger picture.
Tip: Write your Personal, Team and Organization goals on sticky notes and place them in a spot where you can see them.
Self-Reflection: Every morning take a minute to read and reconnect with these goals and ask yourself – how is my work today contributing to these goals?
How do I know if my
goals are clear enough?
Simple. Submit each goal to these 3 questions:
What is the target I’m trying to reach? Was this target set in collaboration with my manager?
Why is this project or task important? How is it related to the direction of the organization?
How am I going to reach the target that I set with my manager?