Planning for 2024
Increasingly, setting goals is an essential part of a professional leadership journey. And as goals provide direction, motivation, and a sense of purpose, in both your personal and professional life, it’s actually a good thing to spend time getting clear on what you want to achieve next.
Goals give you clarity and direction. They help motivate and inspire you, and they are a way of monitoring your progress.
Yet, it’s not enough to simply set goals.
You also need to ensure they stick [and you stick to them!] so you achieve something meaningful to you.
In this blog, I explore some goal-setting strategies to help you approach your choice of goals a little differently this year. Using these strategies will help you actually achieve the career and leadership success you really want.
7 Goal-setting strategies for leadership goal success
Reflect on your leadership journey so far
Before you jump in with goal setting for 2024, take time to consider your successes and challenges. Think about the skills you’ve developed and your overall growth and progress, especially in 2023, but also further back.
Understanding your past experiences can give you valuable insights that will inform your goals for the future.
For example, you might recall a project where you successfully led a team to meet tight deadlines, however, when you reflect you realise that one of the key challenges was managing conflicting priorities among team members.
A new goal might be to attend a conflict resolution workshop, or to seek mentorship in order to proactively address your team challenges.
It makes goals easier to stick to if they’re clear. Instead of a goal like "improve my leadership skills," reword it to "complete a leadership training program in three months and apply at least three new leadership strategies in team meetings each month."
The clearer and more specific the goal is, the easier it is to track your progress and stay on course.
Write your goals down
The best way to be specific about your goals is to actually write them down. Get down the details in writing.
It makes the goals tangible and means you can come back to them to revise them if you want to.
As an extra tip - keep your goals somewhere you can see them on a daily basis. It reminds you of your intentions and helps keep you accountable.
Align your goals to your leadership values
Knowing what really matters to you and why is an essential part of goal setting.
Ultimately, your goals should contribute to the bigger vision you have of your life and career.
Plus, goals that are aligned to your values and beliefs are more likely to resonate and remain a priority.
For example, if you value connection and openness in the workplace, you might have a goal to enhance team collaboration that focuses on more informal ways to bring your team together to build and strengthen team relationships.
Sharing your goals with a mentor, coach, or supportive colleague can provide you with encouragement, advice, and constructive feedback.
Having someone to hold you accountable on a regular basis can provide an extra layer of motivation and commitment to stick to your goals, especially when the going gets tough and your intentions slip.
It’s even more effective if you work out stages of a goal’s progression and agree a date with them when you’re going to have certain steps completed – then it becomes even more meaningful.
A good mentor or coach will check in before and on these ‘deadlines’ to help you remain accountable for your progress.
Whilst I believe setting goals is important, an important goal-setting strategy to remember is to be flexible and to adapt when you need to.
Life can be unpredictable. Be open to modifying your goals if circumstances change, or if you gain new insights or opportunities that suggest a different approach.
There’s nothing to say your goals can’t change, they’re yours and yours alone.
Don’t beat yourself up if you need to make changes; acknowledge your efforts and learn from any setbacks. The main thing is your commitment to keep going.
Celebrate your achievements
You don’t have to wait until your goal is reached. Celebrate small wins and achievements along the way. Whether big or small, milestones represent progress toward your overarching vision.
Recognising and celebrating all of your accomplishments ensures you’re enjoying the process and maintains your motivation.
Once again, having an accountability partner can support you with this - reminding you to celebrate progression.
Goal-setting strategies and getting support with your goals.
Setting leadership goals shouldn’t be a checklist tick box sort of exercise. A key contributor to your success is reflection; understanding where you've been is instrumental in charting a course for where you want to go.
Essentially, setting goals that stick requires a blend of thoughtful planning, unwavering dedication, and a clear vision of what you want to achieve. It’s as much about the process as the actual goals chosen.
And you don’t need to go it alone. It can be frustrating sitting in front of a blank screen trying to marshal your thoughts and dreams well enough to be able to create a concrete action plan.
Consider partnering with a coach or mentor [like me!] who can help you take the time and space to really reflect on what you want. I can help you to choose goals that are meaningful to you , your leadership and your career.
It can be frustrating to feel you’ve not achieved everything you wanted in 2023, but there’s nothing wrong with resetting the date for the goals you have. It helps to clarify what you really want.