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Getting Your Employees to Set Achievable Goals

Here at Level Up Leadership we have a formula we like to use to represent the process for setting professional goals. It looks like this:

Attitude(Knowledge x Skills) + Goals = Positive Behavior Change = Improved Results

Or put more simply:

A(KS) + G = PBC = IR

Let’s break this down piece by piece. We start with our knowledge and our skills. We all have both. Maybe we wish we had more of each (hey, maybe that could be one of our goals), but for right now, what we have is what we have. Our knowledge and skills combine to give us our foundation, our status quo.

Even before we set any goals, knowledge and skills are hugely impacted by our attitude. A good attitude means that we’ll put our knowledge and skills to good use. With the right attitude, we’ll probably even try to improve both our knowledge and skills without any specific goals in mind. On the other hand, a negative attitude can reduce our knowledge and skills to bunk.

Now, add in a goal. And we don’t mean a goal like, “I hope I don’t cave and eat a Butterfinger today.” We mean goals that are thought out, written down, and given deadlines. Goal setting is essential to creating positive behavior change. Goal planning gives us a mark to aim for, and that mark should be achievable, concrete, and based on a timeline.

Say for example that I am a salesperson and that I want to improve my sales this quarter by six percent. That’s a reasonable goal. It has a deadline, and I already have the skills and knowledge that I’ll need in order to accomplish it. I’ll also need the right attitude, which could include confidence in my ability to reach the goal, eagerness to make it happen, and the determination to overcome any obstacles in my path.

This is all great, but there’s still one thing missing if I want to achieve the positive behavior changes that will allow me to reach my goal – I need to break the goal down into steps. What strategies will I use to improve my sales? Will I make five extra cold calls a day? Will I enroll in a seminar on improving my sales techinque? I’ll also need to break down the obstacles that stand in my way and figure out some potential solutions. For example, improving my sales might mean I have to work longer hours, which could have a negative impact on my home life. To overcome that, I may need to talk the situation over with my partner, or I may need to start coming into work a bit earlier.

With the right attitude and clearly defined goals, any employee can create positive behavior changes and thereby improve their personal results, turning goals into realities.

About Joy Ruhmann
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