By Laura L. Duke, Bryant Bank Training & Development Director
The end of the year is a time to look back at how successful you’ve been with goals over the past 12 months and come up with new goals for the next year. Do you look forward to this task or dread it? Goal setting is an important activity, but most of us are doing it wrong.
We tend to set goals that are simply not within our control. This may be true when it comes to your business goals related to where you work, and it may be true for you personally.
Business-related goal setting
Organizations and businesses typically want to achieve specific results each year. Sell a million widgets in 2020, or give out $100 million in loans for the year. But to get to these results, there must be goals along the way. This results/goals scenario doesn’t always translate well for the individuals within the company who do the legwork to accomplish the desired outcome.
For example, if a company that manufactures widgets wants to sell a million widgets next year, and they have four regional sales directors, each of those individuals would need to sell 250,000 widgets. But that sales director cannot control everything about how much they sell. The people who will be buying the widgets are in control of that. Instead, this salesperson might make a smaller, achievable, more workable goal to raise awareness for the widget by setting up booths at local stores once a month to demonstrate how the widget works. That should result in selling more widgets.
In the banking industry, a loan officer may want their results to look like giving out $10 million in loans for the year. That is also beyond their control, and such a large number can be paralyzing. This loan officer needs to make smaller goals that will be in his or her control to achieve those results. Examples of appropriate goals might be attending city functions, taking current clients to lunch, or writing a post for the bank’s blog. Again, doing these smaller tasks should result in more loans throughout the year.
It’s important to take the large, overall picture of what results you want and break it down for the individual. One good approach is the SMART method:
The semantics of goal setting
People lose sight of personal business goals and corporate goals and how those should align with overall results. The language used is important. Are the semantics deflating or encouraging?
Talking in terms of selling one million widgets or $10 million in loans can be paralyzing and deflating. It’s hard to even get your arms around those numbers. But if the focus shifts to what is attainable, your entire mindset may change. You set yourself up for success.
As we end 2019, many people are thinking about whether or not they have met their goals for the year and achieved the results they wanted. Year-end reviews can be discouraging if goals weren’t written well in an attainable way.
But how you handle it right now is important. Do you let yourself be deflated, or do you start thinking ahead to next year and how you can be smarter with your goals for 2020? It’s a great pivot point. Think about goals that are specific, measureable, workable, and attainable, even if this means shifting your mindset completely.
Personal goal setting
The same philosophy applies in your personal life as well. SMART goal setting and paying attention to the language you use applies in all areas where you might make personal goals to achieve the results you hope for. Finances are often a big one, and it’s very similar to business goal-setting.
If you want results when it comes to saving more or paying off a larger portion of your mortgage, it’s best not to make really large, possibly unattainable goals. It may be overwhelming to aim for putting $10,000 into savings or paying off your mortgage entirely. But if you break it up into smaller, more attainable goals that you have more control over you will set yourself up for success.
Maybe this means adding an extra $100 to your mortgage payment each month throughout the year, or setting up an automatic transaction to save a certain amount each month. To achieve these goals for the year, you can come up with specific ideas to do weekly and monthly, or maybe even daily. You will be much more likely to achieve these goals, and potentially even surpass them to get the results you want.
When it comes to financial goals, our Bryant Bank bankers will be happy to sit down and talk to you about how you can better achieve your goals in 2020.
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