Goals and your Personal Mission Statement
A little background on how goals work
Goals are cascaded throughout an organization, where an individual’s goals are a sub-set of their boss’s goals and so on up the hierarchy. So achieving my goals helps my boss achieve her goals, helps her boss… and so on.
Goal results are set to meet business needs covering areas like meeting shareholder performance targets, customer servicing levels and employee satisfaction. A company with a performance related pay system will use an individual’s goal achievement results to allocate pay increases; if you exceed your goals you receive more money.
This is one incentive for an employee to work hard for the company. For this and other reasons, goal setting in the workplace can be an emotive issue and requires careful management to ensure equity.
Without goals, both good and poor performance goes unnoticed
Conversely, lack of meaningful goals can mean disaster for a business. Individuals can end up doing their own thing, working at cross-purposes, or overlapping effort. Both good and poor performance goes un-noticed, as no one really knows what that is. Sensible companies invest a lot of time and effort in the goal setting process, as they want to succeed.
Goals and your personal values
You will get the best results if your goals are in line with your personal values. But what are your personal values? Articulating what you are about is a good starting point for understanding your motivations in life and you can do this by writing your own “mission statement.”
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least” Goethe
Your personal mission statement
Most companies have a mission statement encapsulating what the company stands for, translating aspirations into employee actions. However they are often made meaningless in the quest to make them politically correct or contain the latest management jargon or look great printed on giant posters. Don’t let this put you off!
The meaning of life is a million dollar question. Let’s make it easier to answer by narrowing it down, and figure out the meaning of your life. What will your epitaph be?
Start by writing down a few words or sentences that best describe your aspirations, meaning or guiding principles.
You could think of these in terms of the different roles you have (wife, grand-father, manager, coach, son etc) to get a rounded, holistic view of your life. You might want to keep this private as the act of explaining it to someone else may make it lose its meaning. On the other hand, sharing your personal mission statement may provide additional insight. The choice is yours!
Here are a few examples to help you get started on this task;
- I am a healthy person who has the wisdom to know what I can and cannot control in my life, and act accordingly.
- I work to live and provide for my family. This means financially, emotionally and spiritually.
- I am respected in my professional life as being knowledgeable, accessable and eager to learn.
Stick with this phase through all the soul searching and ambiguity, as in the words of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland...
"If you don't know where you're going, it doesn't matter which way you go." Indeed!
Next, Writing SMART Goals