Trish Skram’s Blog

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Posted: January 14, 2011

I always enjoy this time of year. Not just because it’s the holidays but it also marks the month of my annual review. Some people cringe. I, on the other hand, look forward to it. To me, it’s a reflection of goals, aspirations, accomplishments and hard-earned devotion of your career. In fact, I do this personally. Ron and I will sit down (usually with a glass of wine), talk about our past year, discuss what we liked, disliked and chat about what’s ahead. Whether it’s a cooking class we want to take, investment idea we hope to build or project we want to accomplish at work, it always seems to come together if we spend the time to document it and revisit. Many think it’s silly.

If you work for a business and/or organization, you probably have an annual evaluation of some sort. Writing solid job performance goals can help you be successful in your career. It certainly has helped me. You must, of course, work toward meeting the goals and, when you do meet them, update your goals or write new goals to continue moving ahead in your career. Goals that are written well are focused, influential, realistic and measurable; these are what I call FIRM goals. Whether you’re writing  goals personally or for work, keep these helpful tips in mind:

Goals are meant to help motivate, not demoralize. So, when you’re writing your goals, be ambitious but realistic.

Start each goal with an action verb, a word that describes an activity (e.g., produce, sell, improve, encourage and contact).

Use a standard of measurement. Maybe it’s the PR gal in me. Not sure. These words were drilled in my head as a young communications student. Make your goals measurable but realistic. Provide an end date or time so that you’ll know when your job performance goals are met. Try NOT to use the word “success” when writing job performance goals. It’s a great word but it’s not measurable. It’s too vague. Instead, use words that define success for you in a specific area. For example, a goal to “become a better sales person” is not a measurable goal. A better, more attainable goal would be “to increase my individual sales by at least 5% by 2012.”

Keep your goals relevant to your job (or life) by understanding the goals of your department and the company as a whole. Your job performance goals should relate directly to your departmental (or organization) goals, which, in turn, support company-wide goals.

Find out how your job performance goals fit into your performance appraisal process. Your performance may be more easily evaluated if it involves determining how well you achieve your previously set goals.

Hope this helps you. Any tips or ideas that work for you? Please share and join the conversation.

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