It’s a cycle most of us will recognize: a few times a year we have a performance review with our managers. We have big plans about how we’re gonna do it all different this year. We’re gonna give that talk, we’re gonna get to the bottom of that new language, and we’re gonna finish that side project. But a week later all those things have drifted to the back of our minds and our focus has shifted back to the issues of the day.
Achieving your goals is difficult for multiple reasons, and in this blog post, I’ll discuss some of the tools I use to make it easier for myself.
First of all, if you actually want to achieve your goals, it is crucial to have good goals. And with that, I don’t mean “feed the poor” or “help the elderly”. I’m talking about goals that are specific. Goals that are measurable, verifiable, and contain an element of time. For example, saying you want to “get better at public speaking” is not a good goal. However, saying you want to “give 3 presentations of at least 5 minutes, before the end of the month” is a lot more workable.
Furthermore, it's important that your goals are realistic. Now, finding out what's realistic is often done through trial and error, but having a goal of "giving 100 presentations before the end of the month" is obviously not realistic. In my experience goals that are perceived as unreachable are generally not very motivating.
Working on your goals
After you’ve set a good goal, it is important to remain conscious of this goal.
This is where 15Five can help you. 15Five is a tool that facilitates continuous performance management. At Avisi we’re already using 15Five for giving quick, weekly reports to our team leads. In these reports, we discuss how our week went, share the ideas we have, and generously dish out high fives to colleagues.
But 15Five also allows you to register your personal goals in a detailed manner. You start off by entering your objective. This is your vague and dreamy goal, for example, “get better at public speaking”. Next, you narrow this objective down with good, specific goals, or so-called key results. For example “Give a presentation of at least 5 minutes”. For each key result, you'll specify the unit of measurement, the start value, and the target value. Finally, make sure to put down a start and end date for your objective, and you’re ready to go.
Creating an objective in 15Five (simplified for illustration)
Objectives in 15Five
From now on your goal will be a part of your weekly 15Five report! Every week you will be reminded of the goals you set yourself. This allows you to register the progress you've made, after which 15Five which show you what percentage of your goal you've achieved. Your goals are also included in the final report, so your reviewers can help you out when they see you're having trouble tackling them.
Setting good goals and registering them in 15Five helps you tremendously with actually achieving your goals. It’s always clear what you have to do, by when you have to do it, and how much progress you've made so far. On top of that your team lead is kept informed about your progress, so he can help you out when necessary.
Go give it a try!