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New year, new goals – update your plan for 2018

on 10 January 2018


Posted by Jacqui Hogan
iStock 640163040

Many years ago, in a very rash state of mind, I declared that I was going to become a black belt in Karate. There was much hilarity amongst my friends, as I am not exactly built for power or speed! Nevertheless, I was determined that this would be my goal, and that I would achieve it before I was thirty.

I set out my plan and for three years, I persevered, diligently practicing twice a week, bandaging every sprain and massaging every bruise. I knew, from talking to other Karateka that this was the best plan for success. It wasn’t easy, but by keeping the goal clear in my mind, and my mind on my plan, I did finally reached my goal on a cold February day in Bristol – one year ahead of my target.

This made me realise that you can achieve anything, provided you set yourself a goal that you truly believe in, create a viable plan and work hard to achieve it. After all, if you don’t have a goal, how will you know when you’ve got there?

Team Leaders are responsible for the achievements of other people – their team. To do this effectively, means you need to:

  • Identify the business priorities
  • Set goals that will deliver the right outcomes for those priorities
  • Agree defined and measurable outcomes for themselves, individuals and the team
  • Have an action plan that focuses on delivering the desired outcomes
  • Get your team members to define and agree with you the objectives to achieve those outcomes
  • Set milestones so you can monitor progress

With a new year just starting, now is the perfect time to review your goals and update your plan.

1. Goals should be owned by everyone

As a Team leader, you need to ensure that all team members are working towards common goals. However, each team member will have their own interpretation of the ‘goals’ and their own reason for wanting to be involved. Using sharing tools e.g. brainstorming or online whiteboards to discuss goals before they are finalised will help to give everyone involvement and ownership. Online whiteboards are particularly useful in that you can refer back to them easily later.

2. Goals should be clear

As far as possible, define the goals in terms that you can measure. Then, as changes are proposed (and they will be!), you have a set of well-understood and defined criteria against which to measure the impact and relevance of changes.

Focus upon what you want and what you can do. Do not focus upon what you do not want, cannot have or things out of your control.

3. Goals should be measurable

Some goals will be easier to measure than others are, but try to think of a way of measuring all goals e.g. a new job by next Christmas – easy to measure – a better quality of life by Christmas – more difficult to measure.

4. Goals should be motivating

Determine what is meaningful to your individual team members as well as yourself. If you have to negotiate your goals with your organisation, try to link them to outcomes of value both to the organisation and to you personally. Write down what the value is. If you do not have a personal stake in achieving your goals, then you probably will not achieve them.

5. Goals should be easy to refer to

This might seem obvious, but it is easy for your goals to be locked away in a dusty drawer and forgotten. Write your goals down into a document that everyone has access using words that everyone can understand and in a format that you can easily update. Don’t rely on sending this document via email or keeping in a private folder. Keep it somewhere shareable - an online, secure area is ideal.

6. Goals should be challenging

If the goals were easy, would it really be worth it? Goals will give you a sense of purpose and a focus. You will have setbacks. However, do not be deterred. Overcoming setbacks will make your achievements even more satisfying.

7. Goals should be flexible

Goals also need to be flexible as requirements change. A great danger in any team is that the goal ‘drifts’ and not all participants recognise the drift in the same way or at the same time. Do not assume congruence, but recheck and confirm or update your goal frequently. This is another reason for having your goals document handy for everyone to review on an online shared system.

8. Plan your outcomes and actions

Plan your actions to deliver the outcomes related to the goals in a timely manner. They should be achieved in a given time scale, by a specified date. You should undertake to work towards your goal at the right time, i.e. when completion of the goal is possible. If you are not already using online project management tools – consider it. These tools allow you to define outcomes in practical terms and for your team members to determine what tasks they need to do in order to deliver those outcomes.

If you rely on a group of people collaborating on tasks and activities, the ability to track what team members are supposed to be doing when is rather essential. Not keeping track can quickly lead to you missing deliverables and delaying goals. Ideally, you want to be using software tools to track time and tasks automatically. These improve organization and workflow efficiency. They also make information about progress available to anyone who needs to know, whether inside or outside of the project team.

Glasscubes is a UK based collaboration tool vendor that supports a full range of eTeam and remote working. Find out more about how they can help you manage your teams more effectively by calling +44 (0)20 3274 2310.


About this author: Jacqui Hogan

With over 30 years technical and management experience in the IT industry, Jacqui has mentored many individuals and business owners to greater success with helping improve communication, technology project management, change management, and innovation.
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