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How to reach goals at work

Make goal-setting an ongoing practice.

Setting goals at work is an intriguing balancing act. On the one hand, your workplace goals must support the company mission. But, on the other hand, they must be your own. Otherwise, goal-setting is just a rote, check-the-box exercise.

An additional complication is that certain companies (and managers) are better at helping their employees set and achieve work goals than others. The good news is that even if you work for someone who approaches the annual goal-setting session as a necessary evil, there are things you can do to get some value out of it. If your manager genuinely understands the power of goal alignment, setting, and achieving goals, you have an excellent opportunity to use the conversation working towards your career growth. 

Here are ten things to keep in mind before setting goals at work and filling out that goal sheet.

1. Get clarity on your team’s structure

 Get the mapping right, and you will be able to identify specific and measurable things you can do better to help processes and projects run smoother.

2. Talk to your boss. What can you do to make their job easier and make them look good?

Having a frank conversation about supporting your boss will go a long way towards defining your workplace goals.

3. Focus on what you can control and have a plan for the rest

Be clear on the distinction, and have a plan for what to do if the out-of-your-control factors don’t line up.

4. Think about your career path in the long run

Line up your personal goals for work in a way that allows you to gather those accomplishments and learn the skills.

5. Go beyond immediate tasks and think of the bigger picture

Your growth as a professional is more significant than productivity and proficiency at your desk!

6. Get clarity on what goal achievement would look like

The image of a goal achieved will keep you motivated.

7. Schedule periodic check-ins

The important thing is to keep the communication channel open so that your goal plan can adapt to reflect today’s reality and priorities.

8. Ask for support if you need it

Your career is no different. Look for allies, both within your company and outside of it, and build a network of professionals who care about your success. Talk to them, ask for advice, and listen carefully.

9. Make a periodic comparison of your annual goals with your to-do list

Do a regular check of how well your daily to-do list aligns with your big-picture workplace goals. If the two have nothing to do with each other, talk to your manager and take action.

10. Track your accomplishments

List everything from meeting regular deadlines to stepping in to help with an urgent research project to completing successful client pitches and presentations.

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