Succeeding in the Job: Goal Setting


Every person who works should want to set goals and measure progress against them.  In order to have significance they must fit like the pieces of a puzzle within your boss’ goals as he or she works to achieve company goals.  That, however, is not enough.  The goals must be clear, concise and measurable so that at the end of the evaluation period reasonable people (you and your boss) will agree on the degree of success attained.

Some goals seem to be easily measured such as, “Sell $120,000 of new business in one year.”  If the boss has a goal of producing new business and not recurring business (think life insurance), then the goal may not be specific enough.  It may have to be rewritten to something like, “Sell $70,000 of new business and $50,000 of recurring business in one year.”

Goals that don’t as easily deal with numbers can seem more difficult to quantify but the effort is well worth while.  Suppose you were the supervisor of a management development program.  One of your goals might be, “Create a management development program to develop 80% of store managers internally within 18 months.”  Or, suppose you worked for a not-for-profit that was in trouble and faced the possibility of going out of business.  You might have a goal to “Create a for profit business, within 6 months, selling our research to local and state governments to reduce their outside vendor costs.”

Take a look at the questions below and remember that all goals can be measured to the degree that reasonable people will be able to agree on completion.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Yes  No   Have you prepared specific, measurable quantitative and qualitative goals for mutual agreement with your boss?
  • Yes  No Have you met with your boss to mutually agree on your goals?
  • Yes  No Once set, have you sought feedback from your boss regarding progress?
  • Yes  No Have you agreed on how will you be evaluated at the end of the month, quarter or year end?
  • Yes  No  Have you and your boss agreed upon the resources (people, equipment, technology, etc.) you will need to achieve success?

Congratulations if you answered “Yes” to each question.  If you answered “No” to any question, then click on the “No” for follow-up.


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