“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going”, according to motivational guru Earl Nightengale.

As a woman new to management, looking at what you feel compelled to achieve long-term may seem like something you simply don’t have time for right now. But do find the time! Take one evening at home, curl up in a comfy chair with some good music on and do it.

A word of caution: don’t make your list too long, especially right now. You don’t want to be distracted from your new management and leadership responsibilities by pursuing your own professional development agenda.

There are a number of relevant models and I am including two of them for you to choose from. They will both serve you well. It’s just a matter of personal preference.

The G-R-I-P Model

Women’s Leadership News published an article on this topic in their January, 2007 newsletter – the G-R-I-P Model.

G = goals
R = roadmap
I = Ideas
P = Practice

Goals. Write down a list of everything you would like to change or achieve. Narrow your list down to your top three most urgent, compelling areas, then create a goal in each of those areas. Always remember that your best ones will be SMART:

  1. Specific – clear and well-defined or they don’t provide sufficient direction
  2. Measurable – include precise amounts, dates, etc. so you can measure your degrees of success
  3. Attainable – not too easy and not too hard
  4. Relevant – in sync with the direction you want your career to take
  5. Time-bound – to attach a sense of urgency

Roadmap. Create a step-by-step project plan that broadly outlines the steps you will need to take to reach each.

Ideas. Regarding the first step in your roadmap, brainstorm for your best ideas on how to move forward. This could include reading, research, talking to a friend or mentor, and gathering resources and best practices.

Practice. This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s all about taking action. Put your best ideas into practice, with weekly accountabilities to take action on. Quoting Amelia Earhart:

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward”.

This exercise is wonderful to include in performance review meetings with your team members, or in a more formal environment, particularly if a team member seems to be adrift in their forward career progress.

The Ten Commandments

Jamie Mintun, founder of PhoenixFire, provides us with Ten Commandments:

Be passionate. More powerful than anything you are reaching for is the passion for what you want, what you do and who you are. Find your passion first!

Be realistic. If you want to make a million dollars in a year and only make $500,000, you failed. If you want to make $100,000, you can beat it big time!

Be value-driven. In pursuit of success, many people lose sight of their values and beliefs. Make a list of your values first. If you can’t associate a goal with any of your values, it probably shouldn’t be on your list.

Be detailed. Just writing something down isn’t enough. The most effective ones have attached timelines, quantities, qualities and the ways in which they will change your life.

Plan. Start with the end result in mind, then work backward. For instance, if a want to help a team member to be more in sync with you, you need to earn her trust. To earn her trust, you need to listen and accept her mistakes, etc.

Remain accountable. Ask your mentor to hold you accountable, or create a system to hold yourself accountable. Set midway due dates within the process. They are easier to measure and give you a sense of accomplishment.

Have fun. Goals won’t do you much good if they just frustrate you and make you feel guilty when you can’t reach them. Have fun with them, reward yourself, and when things get tough, take a break and do something different and entertaining.

Believe. Avoid setting them if you don’t truly believe you can reach them. If one is to hire another team member within the next six months, but the salary line in your budget is topped out, rework it into something believable for you. Otherwise, you’ll just frustrate yourself.

Seek support. Much as we’d all like to believe we can do it all by ourselves, it’s often not possible. Find support from your mentor, a close friend or an inspiring book. Don’t always try to go it alone.

Don’t give up. What if you have one you just can’t seem to reach? Don’t give up. Maybe you’re concentrating too hard on reaching it and losing sight of why you set it in the first place. Tweek it a little, approach it from a different angle.

I would rate the two most important commandments as being passionate and having fun. Passion will carry you through the rough patches. Having fun working toward your goals helps you maintain your perspective.

Evaluate Your Progress

Once you've started, you need to stay focused on them and monitor your progress. Don’t wait to evaluate your progress until the end of the year. Check your progress monthly, quarterly and yearly. You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll accomplish.

All Your Goals Must Motivate YOU!

Make sure your goals are important to you and there is value in achieving them. Set ones that relate to the highest priorities in your career. This will not only help you avoid setting too many, it will help you avoid the risk of putting off what you need to do to make them a reality.

Write down why a particular goal is valuable and important so that you could convince someone else that it is worthwhile. This statement can help you if you start to doubt yourself or lose confidence that you can reach it.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Add to your list as new ideas occur to you. Actively look for opportunities in your organization from which your career would benefit if you participate and make it a goal to capitalize on the opportunity.