Why and How to Set Goals for You and Your Team

Welcome to another Friday episode! Today, I dive into a crucial aspect for both personal and organizational success: setting clear goals.

Whether you lead a team, department, or work as an individual contributor, having a well-defined vision and goals is paramount.

But have you ever wondered why some people come to work every day without a clear set of goals, leading to chaos and unnecessary work?
How can a long-term vision help you not just survive, but thrive in your career?

Listen now and explore the why and how of setting goals, unraveling the secrets to achieving a career that aligns with your vision and ambitions, and the following practical strategies:

  • The Importance of a Long-Term Vision
  • Aligning Personal Goals with Career Choices
  • Creating a Future You Want
  • Avoiding Unintentional Career Paths
  • The Power of Short-Term Goals
  • Goals as a Leadership Tool
  • The Eisenhower Matrix
  • The One Thing That Makes Everything Easier
  • SMART Goals
  • Maintaining Visibility and Focus
  • Goals as a Communication Tool
  • Challenging Comfort Zones

Listen now to this insightful exploration of goal setting and discover practical strategies to achieve the career you desire.

For those seeking a deeper dive into the realm of strategy, an upcoming workshop in Frankfurt offers an opportunity to establish personal strategies for success.

Click this for more details about the Strategy Workshop

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Why and How to Set Goals for You and Your Team

[00:00:00] Alexander: Today is another of these Friday episodes. Welcome to the Effective Statistician, the podcast that helps you have a better career, achieve your potential, and really have the job you want to have. And for that to happen, there is one important thing that you need to have in place for yourself. And for the organization you’re leading.

[00:00:32] If you’re leading a team, a group, a department, even if you’re not in this new metrics organization, have them as direct reports. But you need to have a vision and goals. And… This is really, really, really important. I don’t know probably I’m repeating myself here if you listen to this podcast for a very, very long time, [00:01:00] but I just need to reiterate it because I so often see that people come to work every day and they don’t have clear goals that they want to accomplish.

[00:01:14] And that creates a lot of chaos that creates a lot of unnecessary work. It creates a lot of delays, all kind of different things. So why is a long term vision important for you? A long term vision Helps you to decide what is really important for you. What are the things that you want to work on consistently over time?

[00:01:44] And consistently is here the most important thing. Yeah, we all go to work every day. But if we don’t run in the same direction every day. We never achieve anything. We [00:02:00] are just very, very busy. So, you need to have a vision what you want to achieve. And based on this vision, you can choose what company you want to work for, which department you want to work for, which groups you want to work in.

[00:02:17] with projects you want to work on, with initiatives you want to volunteer for, with which kind of associations like PSI, EFSPI, VVS, ISPO, whatsoever you want to help with. This is really, really important. So be clear about what motivates you, what is your long term goal, what Is the future you want to create for yourself.

[00:02:47] How should a day in a couple of years look for you? And maybe not, you know, one day, but, but, You know, typical days. Yeah. How would a business [00:03:00] trip look for you? Do you want to be on business trips? Where do you want to go to? What kind of projects do you want to work with? What kind of people do you want to work with?

[00:03:10] What will feel like how this would be absolutely fantastic to achieve? Because the first reason why you want to have that is you want to create something that is right for you, that is good for you. You can very, very easily work and work and work and create a career that you actually don’t want, yeah?

[00:03:35] So, make sure that you create a career that you want to have in a couple of years. Now, why are Then, you know, breaking this longer term vision, why is that important to break it down into shorter term goals? And here it can be a yearly goal, or a quarterly goal, or a monthly goal, or maybe just a weekly goal, yeah?

[00:04:00] But the important thing is that this helps you and your organization to focus on what is most important. I just recently had this discussion with someone that was leading a bigger team and in that organization the supervisor is not responsible for all the projects. So it’s more of a matrix organization, where the people managers manage lots of people, and then there’s other people that run the projects.

[00:04:37] And this is quite often the case in our industry. Now, what are your goals for your people? There’s probably some goals that you hopefully have that help the overall group. And these can be, for example, around increasing the trust in your [00:05:00] overall group. Increasing the perception, the branding of your overall group.

[00:05:06] Because that is important for your people to be more influential. I speak about this, or Gary and I, we speak about this in our leadership program. Whenever you want to build trust and you come into a new relationship, there’s a halo or pitchfork effect with trust that comes with you. That is, you know, the prior information that people will have about you.

[00:05:34] And that can be very good, because people think like, Wow, that group has a very, very good reputation. There’s always brilliant people coming from this group. Or, it can have a pitchfork effect. Ah, yeah, you can mostly forget about these table monkeys over there. They just kind of yank out numbers, but that’s the only thing that they can reasonably do.

[00:05:58] Never include them in [00:06:00] any kind of strategic discussions because they actually really don’t have a clue about anything. What kind of perception do you want your group to have? What do you want to have for yourself? So, even if you’re not responsible for a specific project, make clear that you have goals.

[00:06:22] And these goals need to drive action. Having a goal of developing new therapies or having a successful FDA submission in three years, that’s too long. Have something that is much more actionable, much more kind of reasonable. It still needs to be exciting, yeah? So, let’s say for this group leader that has lots of direct reports, but…

[00:06:52] They are all working on different projects and this people leader is not responsible [00:07:00] specifically for a project. One thing that this leader could do is set an objective of organizing, of organizing something that helps the overall group. Something, for example, like having, an event, a bigger event that speaks about the, Relevance of this group, where there’s presentations, trainings, all kind of different things. These things can help a lot to increase the visibility, the trust the like factor for this group.

[00:07:33] The other thing that these goals help achieve is, it becomes an easier to say no to all the other things. We constantly need to prioritize work. And… There is the famous Eisenhower matrix that I recently posted about on LinkedIn. And by the way, if you are not following me on LinkedIn, I highly encourage you to do so, because I’m [00:08:00] constantly posting additional insights and interesting things there.

[00:08:05] So the Eisenhower matrix is a very simple tool. On one hand, you have the urgency. Not urgent or urgent. You can categorize it in more categories if you want. And on the other hand, you have the importance. Less important, more important. And of course, you want to mostly work on the important things.

[00:08:31] Now the problem is, what actually is important? What actually is important? This is such a simple question, yet most people can’t really answer it. Or do not consistently answer it. Yeah, because what’s important today is different from tomorrow, is different from next week, Wednesday. That can’t be true.

[00:08:58] There needs to be [00:09:00] some kind of overarching importance. Something that is really kind of the most important thing for you. Over time. And that is defined by your goal. And of course, things can change. Yeah? You’re working on a compound and your most important goal is to finish this SAP by next month. And then, yeah, for, or some kind of reason this compound is killed because there’s an, an, an unexpected serious side effect.

[00:09:35] Okay? Things shift. I understand that, but then set a new goal. Make sure you have constantly this goal visible. If you are now looking into. Performance review for this year. And you dig out your goals that you have set earlier this year and you don’t remember them. [00:10:00] Well, they were not helpful. Goals are only helpful if they are visible all the time.

[00:10:07] And if they are meaningful all the time. And if they drive behavior all the time. So just putting them into some kind of HR folder is not helpful. I actually think it’s not helpful to just have them in an electronic folder. Because these electronic folders are not visible all the time. What you need to have something that is visible all the time.

[00:10:35] Print them out and put them next to your desk. Or… Put them into your paper planner so that you look at them every morning or maybe put them on your screensaver or wherever you can constantly see them. That is really, really important. Goals that you don’t see, you can’t follow. [00:11:00] They need to be top of mind all the time.

[00:11:03] And this is also something, it’s a… Goals are a communication tool. They help you agree on what is really most important. So, if you set goals for yourself, have a discussion with your supervisor about these, that he or she agrees on these. Yeah, and that these are meaningful for you, that these are meaningful for the company, that these are meaningful for your department, for your group.

[00:11:37] Yeah, they need to be meaningful for everybody. That is another reason to have goals, to have alignment in organizations. Proximate goals are one key pillar of a good strategy, because it helps you to align action. And alignment of action is really important to get [00:12:00] anything done. We live in a world where there’s a new opportunity all the time.

[00:12:06] And we need to evaluate this new opportunity against what we are anyway planning to do. And if it’s not helping more, then, well, we shouldn’t pursue that opportunity. The other thing is, when setting goals, you can think about what are the things that you should do that make everything easier. There’s a famous book, The One Thing, that speaks in length about this, but the essence of this book is that you first work on those things that make everything else easier.

[00:12:49] For me, for example, working on the podcast was important because that makes for me everything else easier. [00:13:00] It creates more reach, it creates more of my expertise, it helps me to network, all these kind of different things. The podcast is for my business very, very essential and therefore I continue to do it and I continue to invest in it.

[00:13:20] What is something similar for you? What is a capability, a capacity you want to have that makes everything easier? Are there certain tools you need; certain skill sets you need? What is it? Yeah? This is really important. Maybe it’s about building a certain relationship, that this is the most important thing.

[00:13:48] Yeah? Maybe you first need to invest in building relationships with the most important people on your team. On your project team. Maybe it’s really important to build [00:14:00] a relationship with the regulatory guy. Maybe it’s most important for you to understand the new therapeutic area, because that will make everything else easier.

[00:14:11] It will help that you know what to decide, what is most important, what is less important. These are goals. And then, of course, Make them in such a way that you can actually achieve them, you want to achieve them. And yes, I know about SMART goals. I’m not a huge fan of this acronym. Yes, there’s certain parts in it that I, I really think is really good.

[00:14:42] So, so you need to be specific. So anything that is completely vague doesn’t help you. Yeah, they don’t need to be measurable, they need to be observable. So, for example, we [00:15:00] talked about understanding your new therapeutic area. While it’s pretty difficult to have kind of a good measure for that, it’s still a good goal because you can observe it.

[00:15:15] If you get into discussions about your nontherapeutic area and you feel you’re knowledgeable, well, you’ve reached the goal. Actionable. Yes, they should drive action. And you should be in, in good position to actually move the needle here. Having a goal where you have no influence on is pointless. So, things like, I want my supervisor to behave XYZ, you have very, very limited actionable things in here.

[00:15:53] Yeah, of course, maybe you can speak with your supervisor, but you can’t really change your supervisor. [00:16:00] Do something that is good for you, that you can actually do.

[00:16:06] Then are, very often people translate it into realistic. I don’t like realistic. That means you’re sandbagging. I want your goals to be exciting. They should be something that is motivating. Say, you know, reach for the stars so that you can at least get to the moon. Reach for the stars so that you can at least get to the moon.

[00:16:32] I’m reiterating this because this is really, really important. Anything that you will do anyway is not a goal. If you’re, like, coming early to meetings, being on time is no goal. That is not challenging. If you are anyway presenting to five people all the time, presenting to ten people is not a big difference.

[00:16:58] Presenting to [00:17:00] 100 people would be a difference. So, think in terms of something that is challenging, that moves you outside of your comfort zone. If it doesn’t meet this criteria, it’s not worth pursuing it. It needs to move you outside of your comfort zone. It needs you to challenge. It needs you to create kind of new thinking.

[00:17:22] That is really important. Time bound. Yes, there should be some kind of timeline in it. Completely agree. Have it that you know when you need to deliver on this. And that should be not in the far distant future. So, with that, enjoy the rest of the day and have great goals.

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