As we noted in previous posts, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, and Attainable. In this tread, we note the importance of making goals Relevant.
Suppose you work for IT. Your manager pops into your office and says, “I just got a call from the streets department. They are short staffed today and need a few extra hands to help with pothole repairs on Main Street. I thought you would enjoy doing that, so I told them you would be right over.”
Obviously, that illustration is a bit of a stretch, but hopefully it proves a point regarding why relevant goals are so very important. If I am assigning work that is not relevant to your strengths, abilities, interests, background, etc., I will probably soon be looking for another employee!
Keep the following in mind:
- Relevant goals for others – Avoid surprising employees with new job tasks without proper training and employee input. You may have a great idea and see exactly how it will revolutionize your team, but if there is no opportunity for buy-in, your goal may just stay that—yours and no one else’s. Even if you see all the positives, engage employees in dialogue and give them an opportunity to see the vision with you—not just receive it from you.
- Relevant goals for self – What motivates you? I mean, what makes you get out of bed in the morning and head to work day after day? It’s easy to say, “A paycheck,” and that may indeed motivate you for a while; but research indicates there are many other motivators that are more powerful than money. One of the ways to increase motivation is to set goals within the context of work that are relevant to where you want to be. If you are looking for a promotion, then what series of mini-goals are necessary for you to get there? If you want to work in another field, then what degree or certification work do you need to begin in order to ultimately make yourself marketable?
- Be realistic but not a defeatist – Want to set mini-goals? Want to get that certification? Then start working on it one step at a time! You can’t become a doctor in one semester, but you can begin becoming a doctor in one semester. A friend of mine was wrestling at the age of 45 with whether or not to pursue his Ph.D. A friend of his asked him, “Do you want to be 50 without a Ph.D. or 50 with one?” The question was relevant and it made all the difference.
Many small steps make for a long journey. Which first step can you take today on the journey of relevance?