This is the twelfth installment in our 25-week series exploring the 25 competencies, or soft skills, that our assessments measure. Each week we’ll give you the definition of that competency, explain its value, and give you tips to help you develop it.
This week: Goal Orientation.
Goal Orientation is the ability to set, pursue, and attain goals, regardless of obstacles or circumstances. Here the key phrase is “regardless of obstacles or circumstances”. Many of us are capable of setting goals, but we tend to give up once we meet resistance or we get distracted. Those that are highly skilled in Goal Orientation do not. They reach their goals no matter what.
Being well developed in Goal Orientation means that someone is able to not only set goals but to set goals that are both realistic and challenging. They are well aware of their abilities and know what they’re capable of. They don’t shy away from a challenge. Those that score high in Goal Orientation are generally great doers. Once they set their goals, they’re off to the races to get it taken care of. They gather the necessary resources and start moving. And they don’t get pulled away by the urgent and immediate but stick to focusing on the important.
People with strong Goal Orientation skills will lean toward tasks in which the outcome or product completion occurs within a fairly short period of time. They will be able to gather and organize significant resources to achieve excellent results in a short time frame. Without sacrificing quality, enjoyment of the job, or any other essential factor.
In contrast, people with a poor focus on goals don’t have an interest in all of the variables that lead toward achieving goals. For example, they may focus on being fast, being perfect, enjoying the work, or some other factor at the expense of successful results. Consequently, their outcomes or products are incomplete.
Goal Orientation is a vital skill to develop in this world of attention overload.
You, as a leader, must be able to demonstrate it, as well as be able to teach it to others, if you expect to meet and exceed your goals. There have never been more distractions in the workplace that take you and your team off focus and there’s no way to avoid them. What you can do, for yourself and your direct reports, is develop great Goal Orientation to help keep you on track.
Being able to effectively keep yourself and your team on track despite what is happening in the company around you will set you apart from other leaders. Everyone will know that you and your team maintain an extremely high level of productivity.
A great way to make sure that you stay on track with your goals is to understand how your plans line up with your organization’s goals. And to connect to the bigger picture. This helps ensure you always remember why you set that goal in the first place. It ties you and your team to the greater good of the organization.
Effective leaders act independently to define and achieve objectives without supervision. And despite what other projects or distractions are happening around them. If you want people to see you as a leader in your organization, you must be more than just knowledgeable about your subject area or profession. You also need to establish ambitious and challenging goals and become known for achieving them.
Getting results is important for your career and for your organization’s bottom line. If everyone sees that you set and achieve ambitious goals that add value to your organization, odds are you will advance within your company. Remember, setting goals is not enough. You must achieve your goals and work well with others within your organization to meet wider objectives.
If you’d like to start developing your Goal Orientation skills, start by analyzing how you’re setting goals and prioritizing tasks.
Each week, as you begin work, write down everything that you want and/or need to accomplish that week. Then prioritize that list. Make sure to spend at least a little time every day working towards the goals on that list. Even if it’s just five minutes. You can’t let the whirlwind of the day-to-day keep you from making progress. Prioritizing something means making time for it, no matter what.
At the end of the week, reflect back on how you did. Did you meet every goal that you set out for yourself? If so, could you have done more? If not, what kept you from succeeding? What could you have done better? Could or should you have delegated any items?
Doing this will help give you a better understanding of your true capabilities and which activities you are most excited and eager to accomplish. Those areas that are easy for you to set and reach goals. How can you stretch yourself in the less appealing areas?
You can also use this reflection time to ensure that your goals at work are in line with the overall organization’s objectives. Sometimes we get focused on our own little world so much that we disconnect from the bigger picture. Being an effective goal setter means ensuring that your goals are moving the whole company forward and not just you or your department.
In the end, it’s about getting stuff done.
Goal-oriented people are the people that keep projects on track and moving toward the finish line. They’re great at problem-solving in order to work around an issue that threatens to derail their plan. And they don’t let missteps or obstacles keep them off course for too long.
They’re not afraid to face challenges or obstacles. And they don’t dwell on minor setbacks. When something momentarily stops their progress, they don’t give up on the goal. They reevaluate their tactics and find a new path forward.
Being skilled in Goal Orientation means that you can be the one to keep your team and your company moving forward. Despite obstacles. Despite setbacks. And despite pandemics. You can make sure that all your big plans become a reality.
If you’d like to learn more ways to develop your Goal Orientation skills, download our Goal Orientation Rx PDF here.