We have reached the halfway point of 2021 and the first part of the year seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. As an executive coach, this is usually a time where leaders and their team members will do a check-in to see how they are progressing in the goals that they set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year.
All too often I have witnessed goal-setting sessions as a sort of “check the boxes” exercise. At the beginning of the year, we can get excited for what we want to accomplish and then lose steam a month or two later when the day to day sets in. Within organizations, I work with leaders to ensure that we set goals at the beginning of the year that are meaningful to the organization and also determine how to track progress consistently throughout the year and pivot when needed.
Here is a three-step framework for how to not only set goals, but achieve them so that you can continue to enhance your skills as a leader, support your team and follow through on your intended results.
1. Set up a weekly meeting to review progress.
This seems simple enough, but of all the leaders I coach, there are very few that follow this step. I always find it interesting that leaders will accept different invites to fill up their calendars, but rarely set time for themselves to strategically plan the next steps in their development. When we set goals, it is imperative that we also set aside time with ourselves to review our action steps and progress — or lack thereof. Block off a recurring 30-minute meeting on your calendar one day of the week and consistently dedicate this time to self-reflection.
2. Meet monthly with an accountability partner. One of my favorite executive coaches Dr. Marshall Goldsmith talks about the point system he utilizes to track his progress on his goals each day. He employs a meeting at the end of each day with a partner to go through his goals and it keeps him accountable to his continued development. At a minimum, I suggest having a meeting with an accountability partner once a month. It can be with a team member, mentor or someone else you trust and can rely on. The goal is to have this conversation on a consistent basis. This will help you stay on track and, if done correctly, provide another voice or perspective on how you can prioritize and reach your goals, especially if things don’t go accordingly to the plan you set out at the beginning of the year. 3. Modify your goals throughout the year. The goals you set in January should not be set in stone for the entire year. Let me say that one more time: The goals you set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year should not be the same goals you are reviewing at the end of 2021. The biggest miss I see with leaders in organizations is that they don't move on once they have accomplished a goal and set new ones to put their time and energy toward and continue their development. Don't get stuck with a stale game plan. Re-energize yourself by setting new goals throughout the year to enhance your abilities, excite you and breathe new life into the organization throughout the year.
When we are connected to our goals in a meaningful way, it serves our continued evolution as leaders, which, as I described above, has a direct effect both quantitatively and qualitatively within your team. During the upcoming mid-year review meetings, take the time to implement the steps above and set the example for your team members on how they can hold themselves accountable to achieving goals throughout the year. As a result, I believe you will see an impact on their success and development in 2021 and beyond.