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18 Oct

How to set goals for ambiguous areas of responsibility

Datum: 2017-10-18 07:38

Set­ting goals when our work involves pro­duc­ing or sell­ing some­thing is fair­ly easy. We com­plete a cer­tain num­ber of units dur­ing the time peri­od or sell for a par­tic­u­lar fig­ure, and know with cer­tain­ty when we have reached our goal.

But, when we are respon­si­ble for things such as lead­ing, man­ag­ing, or sup­port­ing it is not as easy to mea­sure our progress and not as obvi­ous what our goals should be.

A goal just for you
If we are lead­ing a group (or a team, a unit or a busi­ness), the pri­ma­ry objec­tive and aim of the group will be ours as well. But, in addi­tion to this, it is use­ful to set goals that mea­sure if we are suc­cess­ful in con­tribut­ing to the whole; a goal that is so spe­cif­ic that it becomes easy to dis­cern if a task we are con­sid­er­ing doing con­tributes to our attain­ment of the goal or not. We want to keep the goals spe­cif­ic and rel­e­vant so that we can use them in set­ting our dai­ly pri­or­i­ties and not just pri­or­i­tize by urgency.

How do we for instance mea­sure sup­port”? How do we know if we have sup­port­ed our col­leagues to the extent they expect us to? How many units of sup­port” have we suc­cess­ful­ly deliv­ered or produced?

The doing” is the key
In addi­tion to ask­ing the col­leagues we pro­vide with sup­port how they are expe­ri­enc­ing our efforts of doing so, we can also look beyond the verb sup­port” in order to get a clue as to what our goal might be. What do we do when we pro­vide support? 

One of my clients was sup­port­ing a group by par­tic­i­pat­ing in the group’s meet­ings — not always, but once in a while. The goal could then be to par­tic­i­pate in at least one such meet­ing per quarter.

Do this
If you are respon­si­ble for some­thing ambigu­ous and abstract, and find it dif­fi­cult to crys­tal­ize goals with regards to your respon­si­bil­i­ties, then do this:

  1. Ask your­self how you do what you are expect­ed to do. And what do you do in order to con­sid­er your­self hav­ing accom­plished the task?

  2. Express what you thought of above as some­thing measurable:
    • a spe­cif­ic num­ber of units of something
    • at a cer­tain reg­u­lar interval
    • a set time-frame
    • a cer­tain quality
    • a par­tic­u­lar value

  3. Let your goal con­tain the val­ues you just defined that will indi­cate when you have ful­filled your responsibilities.

Mak­ing it easy to mea­sure, makes it easy to prioritize
If you set mea­sur­able goals for all your areas of respon­si­bil­i­ty, even those that are more ambigu­ous than oth­ers, you will feel a greater sense of accom­plish­ment more often since it will be clear to you when you have reached your goal. When your goals are spe­cif­ic, you will clear­ly see which tasks con­tribute to the goal-attain­ment, and you will be able to pri­or­i­tize based on impor­tance rather than urgency.

What’s your way?
What goals have you spec­i­fied from the more unclear and less tan­gi­ble aspects of your work? Write a com­ment and share your method.