Friday, 9 January 2015

New Year, New Plans, New Goals

Happy New Year!

With the festive season well and truly behind us, now is the time for looking to the year ahead and making plans. 

What do you want to achieve? What projects do you want to deliver? What will success look like for you in 2015?

As a professional Executive Coach, although asking people about their goals is an everyday occurrence in my world, I am continually struck by how rarely I hear clear, well thought through goals by way of an answer.

The responses received tend to be historical; in other words I often get the back-story or history rather than the vision or desired future. I tend to hear a lot of detail; a lot of waffle; a lot of "blah, blah, blah" and it's got me wondering why….

The pace of business today seems to have pushed our behaviour to value being busy. Getting things done, reducing that inbox and being a keyboard warrior are threatening to be more important that being a crisp, clear thinker. The clarity of our thinking is betrayed in the calibre of our communication. We simply don’t spend enough time considering what exactly we’re trying to achieve before diving right in and getting busy. That translates verbally and we start talking too soon, saying too much, conveying very little. There’s not enough pausing, considering, surmising.

Setting clear goals is nothing new. Stephen Covey in his Seven Habits book talks about the importance of starting with the end in mind. I suspect there are very few professional people in the world who haven’t heard of the acronym SMART for setting objectives. Sharing that model with clients is not a "dear diary” moment. And yet in practical terms it’s really not that easy. We need to get super specific; we need to know how we’ll gauge success, we need to agree with others on the outcomes, we need to ensure relevancy and then we need to commit to a date to complete them by - and stick to it. There’s not enough envisioning, refining, prioritising.

So, a new year means new plans and that means new goals.

I’m now going to check on my mine……