Matt Minturn - Boys Town National Training
GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!! Wait! Wait! Sorry! That’s the wrong type of goal. Today we’re talking about setting a common goal for you and your school/program team.
My hope is that the tips we discuss today leave you with at least some of the exuberance displayed in the former as you look at setting your own goals. Nothing is more disappointing and demoralizing than when we fail to meet our goals. Fear not, though, I have scoured high and low, near and far, and have unearthed several nuggets of wisdom that contribute to increasing the likelihood that you will reach the goals you set.
Let’s look at some of the important considerations when setting goals:
- Round 'em up! Consider all stake holders involved: The scope of lives impacted by the happenings in a school is vast. Depending on the nature of your goal you may need to include representatives from all factions impacted. This may include parents, administrators, teachers, non-certified staff, and students. If all stakeholders have a voice or a representative voice in the goal setting process, they are more likely to commit to working to achieve the goal.
- Clue 'em in! Communicate the need for change: Make a case for the change you are embarking on by sharing solid evidence that there is a need for change. Change is difficult for people, and without data to make the case that a new direction and goal is needed, your best bet for winning people over is a strong sales pitch. With a clear understanding of why the change is taking place, you’ll find that your team is more likely to join you in putting forth the effort to see any goals you set come to fruition. Also don’t forget to ask for input from the stakeholders and work to find common ground when disagreements arise.
- Make 'em SMART! Construct your goals purposefully: If you have any experience working with Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) for students, then this term is not new to you. There is real value in making certain your goals align with these elements:
- Specific: Be clear on what the goal is and what will be required for all stakeholders as you and your team work to achieve the goal.
- Measurable: Make sure you know when you have gotten there. Determine a specific target that you are shooting for and how you will measure progress towards the goal.
- Achievable: You’ve got to have the “know-how”. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
- Reasonable: Set yourselves up for success. You’ve heard, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, well neither are most goals accomplished in a day. Make sure that you set incremental goals that are can be realistically achieved in a certain time, which leads us to the last point.
- Time-bound: Know when you will revisit the goal and take measurements to determine progress. Having a clear understanding of when the goal will be assessed and hopefully reached spurns people into action. It also narrows the scope on large sweeping goals to allow you to build momentum as smaller pieces of the goal are met within the timeframe.
- Put 'em to work: Your goals should be driven by strategy: A critical success factor for achieving goals is to ensure that all stakeholders have the tools in their tool belt to succeed. Your team needs to be equipped through proper training and dedication of resources in order to put the goal into action. An action plan driven by the tools or strategies allows your team to modify their daily habits in a manner in concordance with the set goal.
- Make 'em proper: Formalize goals by writing them down and sharing with others: Time to throw a little research at you. According to Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University of California, research indicates three factors which lead to significantly higher goal achievement. The three factors are:
- Write your goals down.
- Publicly commit to your goals by sharing them with supportive people.
- Make yourself accountable to regularly report progress to others.
Groups who did these three things saw a 33% increase in achievement versus a group that only thought about their goals.
Well there you have it folks! It is my hope that these recommendations instill confidence in you and your team as you approach your goals, and who knows, with hard work before too long you just may be shouting GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!
To learn more about how consultation can improve the culture of your school and help you accomplish your goals attend our free webinar on coaching and consultation!
Matthews, G. (2007). The Impact of Commitment, Accountability, and Written Goals on Goal Achievement. Paper presented at the 87th Convention of the Western Psychological Association, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.