“You can’t manage what you can’t measure”
Let’s pick up where we left off in last month’s blog post, Creating Your 2020 Vision. Like most of us, I started the year 2020 developing my vision and strategy for the year. I was determined to devote energy, focus and commitment to taking actions to execute on my vision. My vision included a fairly detailed mental picture of what successful performance toward my goals looked and felt like. This is starting with the end in mind. Once I had this image of performance excellence, it was time to really put the details of a plan together. And it was equally important to understand how I would measure my accomplishments.
The question, “how will you measure success?” is one I ask my clients during each and every coaching session. When you develop an action plan, set goals and objectives, the action steps must include a measurement. Why? Well, as Peter Drucker said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”. According to Dictionary.com, to measure is “to ascertain the extent, dimensions, quantity, capacity, etc., of, especially by comparison with a standard”. So, you must set your standard for each action in your plan. Let’s go through the initial steps involved in putting your 2020 vision into an action plan. To start, it’s worth spending some time on understanding different types of goals.
All Goals are not Equal
It’s true that some goals actually help us perform better than others. The work of iPEC founder Bruce D. Schneider informs us that “a mastery orientation refers to the desire to continually develop into the best you can be”. It is internally-focused, creating self-awareness and feelings of satisfaction with accomplishments. We tend to be more highly motivated when we choose to focus on mastery-oriented goals. On the other hand, a performance orientation is directed more to achieving external rewards or recognition.
For a long time, I had a goal of being a CIO. I remember being disappointed when a recruiter told me I wasn’t selected after a lengthy interview process in which I was a finalist. I had felt a strong connection to the mission of the organization and to the leaders and team who interviewed me. After some soul searching, I decided I wanted to be a part of that organization simply because of these strong connections, and I prepared to call the recruiter to tell him that I wanted to be considered for other roles. Before even having the chance to call him, he called me and said the organization wanted to speak with me about another role, a new one they were creating. The role of Associate CIO at this organization ended up being the most fulfilling experience in my corporate healthcare career, and led me to recognize and realize my mastery goal and my desired purpose. It also led to my life-changing decision to serve as a coach to other healthcare leaders looking to connect to their own vision and purpose.
When you have a performance goal, you are looking to achieve a specific outcome. The outcome IS the reward. And once it is achieved, it is behind you, and on to the next goal. With a mastery goal, you are looking to achieve long term success. This is not dependent on a single outcome. Mastery goals can lead us to establish goals based upon our ultimate desired results, or what we really want.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t have performance or outcome-based goals. When you do, whether you achieve them or not, you gain information that will help you make progress and move toward your mastery goals. Once you know what you really want, it’s time to formulate some strategies, or Strategic Goals, which drive the actions you will take to execute on your plan.
Strategic Goals – Be SMART
A quick reminder about SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, defined as:
- Specific: Provide detail on what will you accomplish. Think about what’s required, what barriers could get in the way and how you will overcome or remove these barriers.
- Measurable: The oft-repeated question, how will you know when you have reached this goal? You may measure it based on a completion date, a quantity, a competency or other measurement of your choosing.
- Achievable: How will you do this? What steps will you take? What resources will you need? Be realistic. Think about the maximum achievable result, then about the minimum result that can be expected. Somewhere in between you will find the sweet spot – the realistic, doable result, one that may require a bit of a stretch on your part.
- Relevant: Why is this important to you? Is this goal aligned to your mastery goal?
- Timely: When will you work on this? How will you prioritize this given your multiple other competing priorities? This may be the most important choice for you to make when executing your strategic goals.
Reflect, Learn and Celebrate
You have your vision, you have your mastery goals, and you have your SMART strategic goals and action plan. You’ve started to execute on your plan. Now it’s time to reflect, learn and celebrate. You defined the minimum, ideal and realistic results to expect. What did you achieve? If you achieved the ideal result, congratulations and take some time to celebrate. If you didn’t achieve even the minimum, congratulations and take some time to celebrate! Wait, what? Yes, that’s right. I say this because you learned something that you can apply to your plan and that may be even more valuable to you than achieving the ideal this time around. What’s important to remember is that a plan is not static and successful performance and mastery requires you to be committed to and to trust your plan!
Stay tuned for next month’s blog where we will take a closer look at those things that influence your performance and your measurement of success.
As a CORe Leadership Dynamics Specialist (CLDS), I can help you discover and execute your Individual Success Formula to increase your confidence as a leader and drive your overall performance and satisfaction.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me on www.llvcoaching.com to read what my clients say.
*This blog contains my interpretation of the copyrighted work of Bruce D. Schneider and the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC).