There’s no time like the present to become the leader you’ve always wanted to be. While goal setting for work at the beginning of a new year or a new moon may seem like a hollow tradition for many people, it can be a powerful tool for moving forward into a new “you.”
At Dale Carnegie, we believe that the best way to initiate change is to Take Command.
That’s exactly what Joe Hart and Michael Crom wrote about leadership goal setting in the latest book from Dale Carnegie & Associates, Take Command. Let’s explore how we can set our SMART goals in motion and keep heading toward them with conviction.
How to Set SMART Goals
There is something to be said about setting SMART goals at work.
- Specific – The goal is planned in detail.
- Measurable – The goal shows progress and there is a clear finish line.
- Attainable – The goal is within the possibility of happening.
- Relevant – The goal will move you toward your overall life vision.
- Time-Bound – The goal will take place within a specified time period.
Some examples of for leadership might include the following:
- Increase company revenue by 15% within the next 12 months through the implementation of a new market strategy and expansion into two new target markets.
- Reduce employee turnover by 8% within 6 months, starting with an employee satisfaction survey and moving into a new employee retention program.
- Improve customer satisfaction scores by 10% within the next quarter by implementing a customer feedback system and introducing a live chat on the website.
Sounds easy enough to set a goal. The problem arises when we start working toward it. Leadership goal setting is not a one-time activity. We must continuously evaluate, plan, and work toward our broader purpose and objectives. This is why every SMART goal needs a follow-through.
How to Follow Through with Goals
Every goal is easy to set and hard to achieve. When it comes to follow-through, the Nike slogan rings true—just do it. But how? If you want to sincerely achieve your goals at work, then you’re going to have to Take Command. When we are in full control of ourselves, we will find the strength and motivation to continue toward our resolutions. You can follow through on your goals when you Take Command of your . . .
Take Command of your thoughts by viewing negativity as a warning sign. When you experience a setback on the road to your goals, it’s easy to slip into negative thinking (e.g., I’m never going to achieve this). But negative thoughts don’t have to hold us back. Instead, Take Command tells us to “stop and challenge yourself. Ask, ‘what is this thought telling me?’ Then ask yourself, ‘What do I need to do now?’ Decide what action you need to take to alleviate the warning sign.” This could include reframing the negative thought and looking at a negative situation from a new perspective. It should also include daily affirmations. Positive, repeated thoughts reinforce your conviction toward your goals. These are simple steps to help you harness your thinking.
Take Command of your feelings by asking four simple questions whenever you come up against a negative emotion:
- How am I feeling?
- What is the feeling telling me?
- Is the feeling serving me?
- How can I address this emotion and move forward?
Inevitably, we will encounter negative emotions on the way to our goals. Any setback is sure to have us wondering if we can really achieve it. But by asking ourselves these four questions, we can take negative emotions and turn them into something useful. We will never fully control our emotions, but we can choose how we react to them.
Take Command of your relationships by making people a priority. No one reaches their workplace goals alone. Whether it’s a person actively helping you get there or just a cheerleader spurring you on from the side, it’s critical that we involve others in our goals and resolutions.
Take Command of your future by crafting a vision for your life. In Take Command, Joe and Michael write, “We believe that taking the time to define clear values and purpose helps prevent . . . confusion and heartache.” So, start there. When you know what you stand for (your values) and where you want to go (your purpose), then you’ll be able to live life with intention—which means more easily keeping up with your goals and resolutions at work.
Take Command of your lifelong learning by enrolling in a class that will teach you how to live an intentional life and achieve your goals. Choose from options such as the foundational Dale Carnegie Course, where you’ll learn to set a vision for life.
Be a better leader through the Develop Your Leadership Potential course. Or get straight into setting resolutions and learning follow-through in the Goal Setting Mastery course. Every Dale Carnegie course is designed to stay with you for life.
As are the principles in the latest Dale Carnegie & Associates book: Take Command by Joe Hart and Michael Crom. They warn that the book is not merely an intellectual pursuit. “To make this work,” they write, “you have to first understand and then take action, try things out, and be willing to learn from any mistakes you make. Our goal is to equip you with powerful strategies and inspire you to live an intentional life.”
You can learn how to live intentionally when you pick up your copy today.