When you’re part of any workplace, naturally you want to make sure that what you’re doing every day is actually making a positive contribution towards the company mission. In fact, you’re probably expected to do this and even measured against it! But how can you actually make sure your efforts are aligned with where the business is going? Today we’re going to share a few tips on doing just that.
Before we start, let’s make sure you actually know what the current company goals are. Hopefully, these have been shared with you somewhere along the line, but in some cases they might be stuck sitting in an annual report somewhere that not every staff member has read or has access to. If that’s the case for you, ask your manager to walk you through where the organisation is going and what you can do to contribute.
First, take a close look at your standard job responsibilities, think about how these relate to company goals, and start brainstorming ways you can use your daily activities to contribute to these. For example, if your role is in Sales, and you know the business has plans to expand into a new country, what can you do to start gathering leads in that location?
But you don’t need to stop here – think about your wider skills as well. There might be something you can contribute outside of your standard role to add further value. Maybe it’s a second (or third, or fourth) language, a creative pursuit or experience from another industry that can be applied to your current one.
It’s also a good idea to ask your direct manager for their input. They might have an outside perspective that can provide additional ideas, or possibly observed a skill in you that you didn’t even realise you had.
Once you have some ideas on how you can contribute, it’s time to set some finite goals around what you want to achieve for the business, and link these directly back to those big picture company goals.
First, make sure you’re using a goal setting framework like SMART Goals or OKRs to ensure your goals are measurable and achievable. If you haven’t used either of these methods before, or there isn’t a preferred method already in place for your team, have a read of the guides linked above to find one that will work for you.
Once you’ve settled on a framework, take a look at where the business is at now, and set yourself a target and a timeframe. Going back to our last example, let’s say you check the CRM and there’s currently 20 leads in the next location you’re expanding to. Taking into account your past results and the resources you have available to you, work out a realistic increase you might be able to achieve. A realistic goal might be to double this – so now you can set your own goal to generate 20 leads for that location within 3 months.
When it comes to review time, or asking for a raise, of course you’ll want to be able to show your manager how you’ve contributed to the organisation’s success and the impact you’ve had. But actually defining that impact and putting a number on it can be difficult.
So what’s the secret weapon you need? An online tool to set your goals and track their progress. This way you’ll have an ongoing record of how you’re progressing towards these targets, as well as a constant reminder of where you should be focusing your time and effort.
Physically recording your goals somewhere visible will also increase your chances of actually succeeding in them. Neuroscience explains that those who can vividly describe or picture their goals are 1.2-1.4 times more likely to achieve them than those who have loose idea of what they want to accomplish. The reason behind this is two-fold: firstly, having your goal recorded somewhere visible serves as a reminder, and secondly, the act of writing it out further helps imprint the goal into your memory.
Now once you’re tracking your progress, if you notice you’re about to hit your goal sooner than expected, or have an unexpected change of circumstances that could impact your success (positively or negatively), remember to reassess your goals to ensure they’re still realistic.
Pro Tip: If your organisation is using intelliHR, the goals you track in the system will flow directly into the Performance Summary Report that your manager will use at review time. This really helps make justifying your contribution easy!
Will you be putting these tips into action? If you have any questions about what you’ve read today, drop them in the comments so we can help!