There are lots of ways to set goals, and lots of ways to get going on achieving them. It’s pretty much the same approach when you are setting your own personal goals as to when you are setting those for your organisation. The difference is in the circle of people you consult with (more professional overlap for the org goals!), and then how widely you share them.

Sharing your personal goals helps you commit to actually making them happen. It’s not vital, but it’s certainly useful. Sharing your org goals is vital! It’s the only way they are going to happen, and it’s the only way that people will know what you are trying to achieve as a group.

Banging them in a slide deck and calling it a day is not going to cut it. That doesn’t give the alignment that you need to have everyone pulling in the same direction to chase down these big goals.

Instead, you need to get your comms plan in gear, figure out the arenas you can sell your goals in. Present them to people, tell them why these particular goals matter and why they are more important than other things we could be doing. Take questions and answer them honestly. Record some sessions for people who are on leave. Share them in Slack, put them on the Intranet (woo!) and finally point people to the deck!

Then repeat this, and go again. Talk about progress towards the goals, share the successful steps towards them and keep them in people’s minds.

This multi-channel approach might get decent visibility and some good buy-in, and the repetition will help, but you won’t actually know how aligned people are to these goals.

Ask them!

As a leader you’ve got more context, you know what’s going on and you have more background than most people in the org. It’s all obvious to you, but it might not be to the Individual Contributors doing the work.

So, ask some questions:

  • What is our top goal for the year?
  • Why are we going after this?
  • What are we not going to do?

Look for patterns in what comes back. What’s missing, what’s wrong, what has actually landed with people? Take these themes, then use them to rework your comms. Address the misconceptions, dive deep into the gaps and celebrate the good understanding.

You build alignment with clear messaging, repetition and rework.

It’s not a one-and-done deck and presentation, and if you think it is you are destined to fail.


What do you value?

When we look at our reality, stopping to think about where we are now, then understanding our core values is a key stepping stone towards making lasting positive change.

There is no point chasing goals that will leave us unfulfilled. There’s no reason for you to do something that will not make you happy in the long run.

Value mapping is a powerful exercise to help you understand what is truly important. Is it friendship, family or companionship. Do you seek comfort or relish a challenge. Is security important to you, and is that wealth or health. Do you seek recognition in your field, or to make quiet yet significant impact?

It’s easy to say all these things are important, so we must seek to prioritise. First take ten minutes to write out all the things that come to mind as an important value to you. If that’s hard, don’t worry. There are lots of lists online to start from, scan a couple and pick some terms that resonate.

The initial goal is to get everything onto paper. Look for concepts that resonate, and be brutally honest with yourself when you are choosing what matters to you. Go with an open mind, seek what is right rather than what you hope would look good to an external observer.

By now, you might have a lengthy list. That’s especially likely if you’ve not really done this exercise before. Many core values will have positive associations, so your short list can be quite long!

The next stage is to whittle it down. Aim for a top 5, and certainly no more than a top 10. This might be hard, particularly when cutting down to the final few. Trade off pairs, removing the one that speaks to you less. If you need to, build a bracket and cut out a swathe at a time.

This list of five values might be enough. It’ll give you a strong view of what’s important to you, what will drive your thinking and what will be a great success in the future.

If you are ready, you can also rank this final list, sorting the values to find out what is truly most important to you.

Now you know what matters, you are ready for the next step in your transformation. You can rework your goals to align with your values and look forwards to powerful and long lasting positive growth.