Team Building Games for Energized Fun Learning

According to Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”, simple words but with a lot of weight. Team building is the process of bringing together every team member and turning them in a cohesive group. This would help them to work cooperatively and collaboratively to meet self, team and organization’s goals.

Teamwork has always been the center attention as far as employee-focused initiatives are concerned and its ability to bring in workplace happiness has been non-debatable. Various benefits can be derived from corporate team building activities as it involves games and tasks designed to build behavioral competency.

Corporate Team Building events are more fun, as compared to instructor led sessions. In any team building session the facilitator poses a challenge to the team to achieve a goal, without explaining how to do that. Participants must work together and communicate effectively as a team to reach out to a solution.

The learning happens with experience succeeded by reflection, discussion, analysis and evaluation of experience. Team building activities help the participants to discover their inner strengths and how to relate that to their workplace. It also allows them to learn soft skills required and in turn brings out their natural leadership style.

Team-building benefits including the following:

  • Enables motivated and collaborative team members, as this is a move towards bringing individuals together
  • Helps in quick problem solving and decision-making process as large number of heads contribute in it
  • Assists in creativity and unconventional thinking as employees are moved away from their usual workplace, which refreshes them
  • Enhances productivity by discovering and eliminating hindrances and improving current ways of working
  • Boosts morale of employee, as they feel organization and co-workers are interested in knowing and developing them.

After completing team-building activities together, employees better understand each other’s strengths, weaknesses and interests.

Below are some interesting team-building activities for energized learning:

  1. Team building kits. This is an enticing game where you mix an escape room, a movie and team building together to bond fun with teamwork productivity. In a group of 3-5 members, teammates try to solve a case with the help of clues and documents. They need to work together and develop theories to solve the mystery. It eases coworker bonding while focusing on communication and trust.
  2. Scavenger hunt. This team-building activity never fall and motivates teams to connect creatively. Divide the group in two or three teams depending upon the number of participants. Make and provide them a list of items to find or do within a deadline. The first team which finishes it, wins. This activity can be made more fun by including riddles, twists, etc. to lead their way to final rounds. This activity is popular to promote teamwork and creativity.
  3. Who am I? Teamwork is often hindered by stereotypes. This activity will help to break groups’ preconceptions. Make name tags for different kinds of people like, “Go-Getter”, “Sincere”, “Cooperative”, etc. Place these tags on the back of the person so that they can’t see it, but others can. For a time, let the group mingle and ask each person to guess what their label is by the way other persons are behaving with them. As each team member figures out what they are, they can exit and let the rest continue with the game.
  4. Photo-shoot. This is a great activity to promote teamwork and task distribution, thereby mixing learning and fun together. Split the group into teams of 4-5 members, ensuring all the members have camera phones with them. Make up a list of objects/situations/ things/people that they need to capture as a team. Depending on the difficulty level, assign them different points for different things. Ask them to meet back after a specific time limit.

Try testing and find out the best activity that works out for you. The activity that you choose depends upon the number of participants, your purpose and preparation time. Combine fun-activity with learning to derive the best results.

Filed under: Team Building

Situational Mentoring: Right Help at Right Time

Situational mentoring is a short-term discussion between executives on issues which are highly impactful in nature. The main objective is to enhance the individual and organization performance. It is a quick-hitting, short-term collaborative learning relationship which leads to creating solutions which are creative in nature.

Situational mentoring involves mentors and experts for information, advice, and feedback. In situational mentoring, mentees look for collaborators who can guide them or give them specific advice on a single, targeted issue which needs to be solved quickly. These kinds of compact microlearning engagements are fast to set up and fast to shut down.

Situational mentors are considered as the right help at right time. They inspire, motivate, encourage, and share valuable lessons to the mentees. They provide support to a specific situation and guidance and help in overcoming it.

Things that will help in situational mentoring:

Create a clear context

To get actionable results, it’s important for both mentor and mentee to have a clear understanding of the issue or situation. This will help in judging the situation well and making better decisions to solve the problem. A clear context will also work as a good starting point for the initial meeting between mentor and mentee. This will also help in setting the timeline and make the action plan. The action plan should include understanding the situation, gather additional information and select and test solution

Focusing on people

To transfer tacit knowledge, it requires interaction. Tacit knowledge is the judgement and wisdom which is acquired through experience i.e. it can’t be gained through by looking at the database. Tacit knowledge has a relational context which creates an atmosphere for dialogue, good and analytical understanding of the situation. This leads to building commitment from both the parties involved to find a solution to the issue.

Attributes of a situational mentor

  • Commitment oriented – Situational mentors are committed to solve the specific problem in an efficient manner. The focus is not how much time will be offered from mentor to the mentee but how efficiently the problem is solved.
  • Situational mentor encourages others – Mentors believe that everyone comes with a unique skill set and they should use that to solve problems personally and professionally.
  • Situational mentors believe that each person has a unique potential and it is exciting– They believe each individual can stretch the limits to achieve the goals. Mentors are usually positive in their approach and promote mentee’s potential in every way possible. This will help the mentees to achieve the next level of their aspirations.
  • Situational mentors can be of any age – Situational mentors don’t necessarily have to be in the management position. They can be of any age. A lot of times junior professional have a lot to offer and can help mentees to achieve their aspirations. Young mentors can provide technical guidance or can give their generation’s perspective on various issues. Young mentors know their niche area and they can offer good advice in that.
Filed under: Mentoring

What is Stress Coaching?

Being stressed is something that we experience in our day to day life. For some it’s a recurring problem and can affect their health and well-being. Stress can affect people in different ways and the cause of stress can widely vary. Change in job, going to a new place, arguments with friends and families, etc can cause stress. A circumstance can be stressful for one but not for others. It all depends on the individual and his/her coping mechanism.

Symptoms of stress

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Change in appetite
  • Feeling anxious
  • Sense of overwhelm
  • Shallow breathing
  • Snapping at people
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Muscle tension
  • Headache

There are a lot of ways to deal with stress. It can include changing lifestyle, using self-help techniques, seeking help from mental health professional, life coaching etc.

How can coaching help with stress?

The aim of the coach is to offer clarity about the circumstance in order to help the individual to understand it properly. This helps the individual to understand the root cause of the situation. Coach engages the individual in a series of conversation to make him/her understand the situation properly. Coach helps in gaining insights or reflection that the individual might not have considered earlier.

Stress coaching helps the individual to come up with strategies and techniques to reduce the stress and to cope in an effective manner whenever any stressful situation arises. There are a lot of stress relaxation techniques, journaling techniques, meditation, etc which help the individual during stressful conditions.

Understanding the root cause may lead to a change in habits of the individual which ultimately help in dealing with stress in an effective manner. Coach will help the individual to adopt the new habits in an effective manner. For example, setting some boundaries, saying “no” to some things, etc will help the individual to cope better.

During coaching, individual can set goals for himself/herself and can decide on the areas to focus upon during each session. Each session will help in uncovering the root cause of the situation and help the individual to feel better and manage it in an effective manner.

After all the sessions are done, individual should create an action plan for oneself regarding the way he/she will move forward and deal in a stressful condition.

Some self-help tips to deal with stress

  1. Ask for help whenever required, delegate the tasks. This will help in lifting off the pressure. It can be done at work or in personal life.
  2. Use relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, meditation, etc.
  3. Avoid too much caffeine or sugar as this lead to physical symptoms which are similar to anxiety-like feeling dizzy, heart palpitations and may lead to stress.
  4. Be active as physical activity helps to reduce stress and improve the overall well-being of the individual.
  5. Build a support network and turn up to them when you need them. Talking to other people helps in relieving stress and help to cope better.

Stress coaching and self-help techniques help the individual to understand the situation better and come up with strategies to cope in an effective manner.

Filed under: Coaching

Leadership Development – Role of a Leader in Crafting a Shared Vision

Julie Straw and team in their book The Work of Leaders discussed three steps of leadership – Crafting a Vision, Building Alignment and Championing Execution. In this article, we discuss the importance of not just crafting a shared vision but also the role of a leader in crafting a shared vision.

To begin with, people like their leaders to have two distinct characteristics – being forward-looking and futuristic and being credible or trustworthy. To get extraordinary things, people must work in the present and focus on the future into the whole realm of possibilities. All things are created twice – once in the mind and then in reality. A leader’s job is to continuously envision new products and services and new business ecosystems that can take the organization towards success.

Leaders must focus on creating long term value for the organization and its customers while focussing on the present for delivering results. By focussing on the future, leaders can provide a sense of meaning and purpose to the organization that binds its people together and inspire them to work hard. By continuously seeking clarity of vision and then enlisting others, leaders create a sense of shared vision.

Motivation theories provide a business case for creating a shared vision. As we know, motivation is essentially of two types – extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation stems from the external environment, for getting rewarded or when we must achieve certain goals set by others. External motivation creates compliance and in some cases defiance. Externally controlled people could stop making efforts once rewards disappear.

Extrinsic motivation is difficult to sustain. However, the second type of motivation – intrinsic motivation is about what one wants to achieve internally. Not set or controlled by others, internal motivation is about our own interests, passion and desires. It gives us tenacity to see through rough times and work with tangible rewards. By enlisting people in the process of shared vision, leaders play on intrinsic motivation of people. By offering a shared vision that everyone feels intrinsically inspired by, leaders create a rich environment where employee engagement and performance are enhanced. The role of a leader in creating a shared vision is in enticing the intrinsic motivating of the people and in building consensus.

Role of a Leader in Crafting a Shared Vision

Self-Reflection

One of the first steps in crafting a vision is to do some self-reflection and articulate as much as possible one’s likes, passions, interests and inspirations. Because the process of envisioning is more art than science, more emotional than a sequence of activities, it is important to start by articulating what drives and inspires the leader. The role of a leader is in not just self-reflecting but also encouraging the leadership team in an exercise of self-reflection.

Direction

Second, by engaging with the larger team, where everyone shares in their values, inspirations, perspectives, questions, hopes and dreams, you could arrive at certain themes or directions that define the overall shared vision. Role of a leader is in engaging the leadership team in a structured process of deriving these idea directions.

Hindsight

Past provides a great way to start looking into the future. It is filled with experiences, data, perspectives, reality and most importantly learning. It gives a picture of what is possible and how long does it take for you as a company to do something new. It provides a good view of what can go wrong as well. While the past does not always portray the future possibilities of an organization, it provides a good way to extrapolate the success and assess what an organization may achieve. The role of a leader is in engaging the leadership team in a systematic process of sharing the highs and lows about the past and arriving at the key learnings form the past.

Present

By assessing the current business ecosystem, leaders can enable the creation of a shared vision. Recent research and surveys involve understanding how the organization creates value for its customers, what the current capability and shortcomings are and how people feel working in the organization. The juice of assessing, reflecting and articulating the current state of the organization is in knowing what must change and what must be preserved in the future.

Imagining the future

The final step of creating a shared vision, which the leader must drive is in imagining a bold future. A future that considers the unfolding market situation, trends and patterns in the buying behavior of the customers, technological advancements and disruptive trends. The role of a leader is in providing a psychologically safe environment for the team to share their version of the vision without the fear of loosing credibility.

Filed under: Leadership

Process of Executive Development Programs

Not surprisingly, people are most willing to attend training that has direct, concrete applications in their world – technical knowledge relate to their jobs. But when asked which would greatly increase their effectiveness at work, the number one answer, was executive development program.

Executive Development Program is basically leadership development program, and, in this article, we shall explain the three fundamental responsibilities an executive has. Leadership is a process by which an executive can guide, direct and influence the behaviors and working style of others to achieve the common goal of the organization. It is defined as the potential to influence and motivate others.

An executive has three fundamental responsibilities:

They need to craft vision, build alignment, and they should champion execution. There’s a lot of skills that goes into each of these responsibilities.

When leaders lack a clear vision of the group’s future, they are feeling their way through the execution process, relying on day-to-day revelations. Sure, they have a collection of goals, plans, and schedules, but they don’t see the underlying tapestry, how everything fits together. They’re much less likely to realize when priorities are misplaced or when opportunities are passing them by. Vision, however, is more than just the efficient use of time and resources. A truly great vision elevates our work. It sparks our imaginations. It touches on our human need to do something of value with our lives.

Think of difference between a beaver building a dam based on its instincts and a team of people building the Indira Dam. The vision of the Indira Dam involved reimagining not just a river but an entire landscape. That vision opened a whole awe-inspiring array of possibilities for the land and the community. Visions are designed to inspire us. They speak something that is uniquely human. Your executive development program should consider this factor.

Building alignment is the second responsibility an executive has after creating a vision. Building alignment is an act of gaining buy-in for the vision crafted and it’s critical in moving from imagination to reality. For an executive’s development, building alignment is as crucial as vision. It is people centric and is therefore as complex and unpredictable as human relationships. The full spectrum of human motivations, personalities, cultural understandings, perspectives, and needs is present in your workplace every day.

The people you work with may be seasoned employees or new hires, with vastly different experiences and levels of responsibilities. But building alignment means ensuring that every person understands his or her role in making the vision a reality. An executive also understand that alignment is not something to check off a to-do list. Alignment is dynamic, ongoing process that requires continual monitoring and realigning as conditions and needs change. By staying plugged in, an executive can quickly tell when alignment begins to wane, and they can then give the time and energy needed to revive it. Your executive development program should consider this factor.

At its most basic level, execution is making the vision a reality. And not just any reality, but the right reality, one that takes the imagined future and turns it into a real accomplishment. Execution is how organizations and teams take all the good ideas and tun them into results. While an executive may or may not be directly involved in day-to-day implementation and production, they are always responsible for ensuring that people have what they need to do their work effectively. Successful execution of a vision can’t happen without the deep commitment. Your executive development program should consider this factor.

For developing an executive, it is important that the executive have deep understanding of all these three responsibilities and therefore, while designing an executive development, one must keep in mind these crucial responsibilities.

Filed under: Leadership

Coping with Workplace Stress

Coping with Workplace Stress

Stress, which is essentially a physiological response to a disturbance in our equilibrium or homeostasis could be viewed as essential and good (eustress) when in occurs in levels that we can cope with easily and harmful when it occurs in excess (distress).

In this context, our engagement at workplace is a mixed bag and therefore, the understanding of workplace stress may vary. There are some aspects of work that could help us put in our best, provide us a cognitive and emotional treat while there could be other aspects which could be the source of distress or bad stress.

Stress doesn’t exist in the environment or in the individual. Instead, it exists in the interaction of the two, led by the cognitive appraisal of the events by the individual. When commuting through traffic, the noise doesn’t consist of stress. Traffic noise could be stressful for the individual who may either not be used to it or is overly aware of the traffic. It may be less stressful for someone who may be either habitual of the noise or is less concerned of the same.

Impact of an event or environment on a person varies based on the subjective interpretation of the event by the individual (cognitive appraisal) and the coping ability that they may have.

When we face a stressful situation at workplace, like say meeting scheduling a mid-year review with an unfriendly manager, the effect of the event will depend on our cognitive appraisal of the situation. In this case, there is a primary appraisal, which is our perception of the event. This may be positive (oh it’s time to get an extra bonus!) or negative (oh! I would have to justify all the errors and delays in my work) or may just be neutral. Our perception of the consequences of an event is what psychologists define as primary appraisal.

Secondary appraisal, on the other hand, is our perception of how well we can cope with the event. It refers to our confidence in our own abilities and coping strategies. These two forms of appraisal determine our emotional, cognitive and physiological response to an event. They together make an event eustress or distress! A person who is confident of the work they have put in and their ability to deal with different personalities, may not feel distressed by the same event – say, of having to get into a mid-year performance review conversation. Everyone has a different level of threshold stress that they can cope with confidently and predictably. Stress response is an individual characteristic.

Here are the top two contributors of workplace stress:

  1. Time stress – Workplaces are ridden with deadlines and schedules that invariably are the most common reason for stress. Because time is seen as money, and when multiple people work together, time commitments directly influence relationships, mastering one’s time is one of the most important skills to learn. By proactively planning, organizing and prioritizing work, one may remove the sense of urgency from their daily tasks. The key to reducing time related stress is in prioritizing and proactiveness.
  2. Relationship Stress – Because workplace is an outcome of people working together, the quality and richness of relationships is an important factor for success. Our relationships with various stakeholders – managers, leaders, sub ordinates, peers and partners may lead to stress. People are driven differently, have different emotional needs and behavioural preferences. By learning to deal with different personalities and accepting that not every relationship needs to be a close relationship, we can reduce relationship related workplace stress.

Finally, stress is our response to a situation and not the situation itself. By developing habits, skills and coping strategies for common sources of stress at workplace, we can experience a less stressful and healthy workplace!

Filed under: Training & Development

Learn the Art of Negotiation at Workplace

Negotiations skills have become one of the most sought-after skills for employees in the recent times. In a competitive market, tactful negotiations can help us gain a beneficial deal. Negotiation is a process where two or more parties come together to find a mutually acceptable solution. The need for negotiation emerges on the grounds that neither of the parties will be able to get everything they want. Realizing that there must be concessions, each party in the negotiation is required to embrace an attitude of understanding that they should get the most ideal deal in a manner which is adequate and acceptable to the other party. Good negotiators understand the importance of this balance.

By mastering the art of negotiating, one can contribute to business development and growth by:

  • building better connections and relationships
  • delivering quality solutions which is a win-win for both the parties
  • avoiding future conflicts and arguments that may damage long-term relationships

Understanding the other party’s inclinations and strategies is vital to great negotiation. Choosing a strategy that best responds to the other party’s inclinations and needs will help to achieve the best outcome. Your strategy for negotiation depends on whom you are dealing with and the type of relationship you hold with them.

One of the most powerful skills in the art of negotiating is that of active listening. It helps to understand the interests and need of the other party, frame our questions and responses and make better arguments during negotiation. Moreover, feelings and luck have no place in a successful negotiation. It is an art that must be mastered with practice.

Tips to Master the Art of Negotiating

  • The first and most important step in negotiation is of preparation. You should know well in advance about the party you’re negotiating with so that arguments can be crafted based on the needs and weaknesses of the other party. Preparation will have to build strategies and create work around, alternative plans.
  • Even with the best plan, you may not always be able to negotiate a successful result. You should have a backup plan if in case negotiations fail. If you plan well for alternative solutions, you can stay away from needless pressure and poor business results.
  • Changing the way, you think about negotiating is important to achieve better outcomes. Perceiving the reasons why individuals act the way they do and being able to communicate with a broad range of behavioural styles, offers the professional negotiator an edge over others to reach the desired goals.
  • Throughout the negotiation process, attempt to figure out what you accept to be an adequate outcome for the other party. Understanding the opposite side’s needs is similarly as significant as understanding your own, so make sense of what you would do, if you were in their shoes and present a solution that is a win-win for both. This will also help to decide on the face-saving formula, if any.
  • You’ll never get what you don’t ask for so be courageous in asking questions. Asking the right questions will help elicit more response from the other person which will further help to define the arguments and solutions better
  • Handling opposition in a right way by learning to deal with resistances and to make a team or other party agree to a common point is very important. The solution to this problem is to spend more time to effectively analyse the current problem areas. Preparation should include thinking about what could be the possible reasons of opposing to the solution and creating a counter-argument for the same.
  • Although we are talking about arguments, one must strive to bring honesty and decency in their conversations so that relationships are not damaged because of negotiation.
  • Lastly, developing a plan of action in advance of the actual negotiation gives the negotiator more confidence. Having a plan can likewise prompt better and progressively reliable outcomes for oneself and for the business. Also, ending the negotiation with discussion around the next action steps and follow ups is a good strategy to keep control of the situation.

The art of negotiating doesn’t come naturally to anyone. It comes with experience and practice. One must just be mindful of the tips provided above to start the basic practice and then further build on developing more advanced negotiation skills.

Filed under: Soft Skills

What does team coaching mean?

What does a team mean?

According to Katzenbach and Smith (1999), Team is ‘a small number of people with complementary skills, who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach, for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.’

What does team coaching mean?

According to David Clutterbuck (2009), team coaching means, ‘Helping the team improve performance and the processes by which performance is achieved, through reflection and dialogue.’

Team coaching generally helps the teams to reach their goals, while creating a sustainable environment which leads to long-term excellence and success. It is done by aligning the team to a common purpose, share the vision, define clear roles, make powerful choices and take strong action.

Organizations which are new to team coaching may view it same as team building but there is a difference between the two. According to Schein (1999), team building works on the interpersonal relationship and helps the team members to strengthen collaboration to increase the performance and productivity of team. Whereas, team coaching focuses on skills and processes which are underlying like how the team communicate internally and externally, how they relate to tasks, etc. This usually takes much longer but has a lasting effect on the productivity of the team.

Team coaching helps to create a supportive and safe environment where people can express their ideas openly and expect them to flourish and take shape. When people feel safe, better and constructive decisions are made. Team coaching also helps in making people collectively aware i.e. team members develop the skill to deal with the already existing issues and also to deal with the new issues which will inevitably pop up in the future. Team coaching also enables team members to understand and appreciate each other’s unique strengths. This leads to synergistic results as well as a shared drive to succeed.

Who can benefit from team coaching?

Senior and mid-level management teams, cross-cultural teams, board of directors, human resource teams, educational teams, virtual teams, etc.

How can team coaching benefit the team?

Team coaching helps the team in the following manner:

When there is a cultural and communication gap, team coaching can help in understanding the root cause and help in finding the best solution.

  • To develop new strategies when team is facing burnout and distress.
  • To re-stabilize the teams during the time of organizational change, growth, merger, downsizing, etc.
  • To empower the decision making of the team.
  • To make diversity as a powerful tool which will help the team to move forward.
  • To solve the perpetual team conflicts.
  • To enable the team to reach its performance goals and deadlines.
  • To help a successful team to seek its next level growth.

These are some of the areas where team coaching can help to get the team better. Team coaching doesn’t always have immediate results because there is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to team dynamics which creates unpredictability. But team coaching does help in creating a long-term view for the team as well as for the organization which ultimately removes the ambiguity and creates a clearer vision for the future of the team.

Filed under: Coaching

Why is Mentoring Important?

Mentoring is a collaborative relationship that occurs between senior and junior employee for the reason of mentee’s growth in terms of personal and professional life. Mostly the mentor and mentee are internal to the organisation and mentor usually align mentee to organisational goals and culture. Mentor often act as role models for their mentee and help them to solve their problems and guide them to reach their goals.

There are various forms of mentoring i.e. formal or informal.

Formal mentoring means when the goals set by the mentor and mentee are actionable, achievable, specific, and measurable. Goals have a fixed timeline and mentor-mentee strive to achieve that goal.

Informal mentoring, mentees set goals which are usually not measurable. The environment for mentoring is informal and unstructured. There is no timeline set and the relationship between mentor and mentee is not formal.

Formal mentoring is usually preferred for the professional growth because the goals are aligned with the overall objective of the organisation and will help the mentee to step up the career ladder.

Why is Mentoring Important?

Mentoring is important because a good mentor helps the mentee to be more effective, clear and confident about his/her work. Mentoring helps the mentee to grow which ultimately leads to better job satisfaction, higher motivation, higher productivity etc. Mentor also helps the mentee to improve at personal life by helping him/her removing the roadblocks or understanding the situation with a better perspective. This will help the mentee to gain confidence and hence, be able to improve personal life.

Professional mentoring include expansion of generational and cultural perspectives, strengthening of skills like technical, interpersonal skills, empathy, leadership, communication, negotiation, etc. which will ultimately help in gaining new insights and continue to experience new ideas.

Different Types of Mentoring

  1. One-on-one mentoring – It is the most traditional type of mentoring. Only mentor and mentee are involved where a more-experienced individual paired with a less-experienced mentee or a younger mentee.
  2. Group Mentoring – There are several mentors with group of mentees. This is usually successful when there are lot of people and lack of time and resources. Institutes like schools, youth programs, etc often use this type of mentoring.
  3. Peer Mentoring – In this type of mentoring, participants and peer are from same role or the same department must have shared similar experiences whether in their personal and professional lives. Pairs often support each other to solve problems. It can be either group or one-on-one mentoring relationship.
  4. E-Mentoring – When participants connect virtually through online software or even through e-mails, then this mentoring will come under E-mentoring or distance mentoring.
  5. Reverse Mentoring – This is the flipped model of traditional mentoring where a junior employee mentors a senior professional. This relationship is usually for the junior professional to teach new skills or technology to the senior one.
  6. Speed Mentoring – It is a play on speed dating and usually occurs during corporate events or conferences. In this mentee usually have a series of a one-on-one conversation with different mentors and gain insights from them.
Filed under: Mentoring

Goal Setting Process: Principles and Characteristics

Setting goals, whether short-term or long-term, are ultimate ways to provide focus and direction in our lives. The process of goal setting is not a casual effort but a purposeful, explicit process that guides transformation. Along with providing direction, goals also help us to measure if we are succeeding and whether any course corrections need to be made along the way.

Since goal setting process is a conscious effort, one needs to ensure that the goals have all the characteristics needed.

The Top Five Characteristics are Abbreviated as SMART

    1. Begin with writing specific goals as they help to provide precision to the process. Be as specific with facts and data as you can. For instance, instead of writing “achieve business target by end of this quarter”, set goal as “achieve business target of 25 lacs by March 31st “
    2. Second, ensure that your goals are measurable. As mentioned earlier, goals help us to monitor how much have we succeeded. If goals cannot be measured, it will be difficult to assess how well are we doing in achieving it. A goal of “achieve business target of 25 lacs by March 31st “can be easily measured by matching the on-actual numbers with the projections. In case the goal is more subjective, say “Think more positively by the end of June 2020”, then assign a measurable unit to that. How would you measure if you have started thinking more positively? Maybe, get feedback from others or have positive outcomes to situations. So, adding the outcome of the situation or the number of positive feedbacks received can be a measurable approach to a goal.
    3. Third, apart from being specific and measurable, goals should be attainable. it’s good to be ambitious but goals that are not realistic and only ambitious can be demotivating. Such goals, no matter how hard you try, will be difficult to achieve. Check for resources and capability to attain the goal before writing it down. If the adequate resources are not available, then specific and measurable goals may not be achieved.
    4. Fourth step in the goal setting process is to ensure that the goals are relevant and must be aligned to our ambitions and plans for self. When goals are not relevant, we are not motivated enough to achieve it and the focus from it is lost along the way.
    5. Lastly, goals should be time-bound. Giving a deadline increases the sense of urgency to achieve the goal and makes planning effective. When setting deadlines, one must ensure that it is realistic. It should not be too rigid and stringent, and neither should it be too lenient and flexible. Assess the adequate time necessary for achieving the goal and then set the deadline.

Apart from these 5 characteristics, the following principles must be considered:

  • Goals should be of moderate difficulty level. Goals that are either too easy or too difficult do not motivate us.
  • We must write our goals. Just keeping it in our head will make us forget and lose focus from the goals.
  • Although goals are set with its characteristic of being attainable, one shouldn’t be hesitant to ask for help if there is any obstacle in reaching the goals. Therefore, having a plan B and listing back up resources to attain the goal is a good practice
  • Make it a habit to keep checking your progress on the goal and make course corrections whenever necessary. Schedule these review session and make modifications early in the process rather than later (closer to the deadline).

Following these simple principles and characteristics in the goal setting process can help us to be more focused, provide us a direction and transform our lives.

Filed under: CoachingTagged with: ,