Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Successful Goal Setting

Posted by: Darlene Duncan CWDP, JSS, CCC, JCTC, JCDC
Training Coordinator

I recently read an article on common goal setting mistakes. Below is what I took away from that article.

1. Setting Unrealistic Goals – Setting goals that you know you’re not going to be able to achieve is setting yourself up to fail. Think about the goals you’re setting for yourself. Make sure they are something you can actually achieve. Make them something that will require effort on your part yet be achievable. If there are no challenges in your goals, you’ll soon get bored with them and lose interest. Use the SMART Method of goal setting. Each goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

2. Setting Someone Else’s Goals – While your boss may set specific goals for you related to your work, you need to make sure you set your own goals as they relate to your overall career and your life in general. Friends and relatives sometimes think they know what is best for us and want to tell you what goals you should set. Trying to achieve someone else’s goals is rarely a good idea.

3. Underestimating the Time Needed to Complete a Goal – You know how long it takes you to accomplish different tasks. Use that knowledge to realistically set the time frame for the goals you have set for yourself. Allow yourself the necessary time to achieve your goals. Many people look at what they’re trying to achieve, estimate the time they think it will take and then add 15% to that figure.

4. Setting Goals for Only One Area of Your Life – Setting goals for your career is a good thing however, you shouldn’t stop there. Make sure you include some fun goals for yourself. Maybe last year you didn’t go to the gym as much as you would have liked. Set yourself a goal of going to the gym at least three times a week. If not the gym, then find something that you enjoy and make a specific goal in relation to it.

5. Appreciating Failure – Sometimes failing to achieve a goal we’ve set for ourselves can help us the next time we are goal setting. Perhaps you just didn’t allow yourself enough time and now you have a better idea of the time required to attain your goal. Failure to achieve a goal shouldn’t be used as an excuse to give up. Examine the goal you were working toward and determine how close you came and all the smaller achievements that went into getting as far along as you did. Remember what Babe Ruth said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

6. Not Tracking Your Progress – Goal planning is a lot like business planning. Sometimes you have to adjust the plan to more realistically fit the circumstances of your life. If you’re not tracking your progress it makes it virtually impossible to know when or if, you need to make adjustments. Therefore, you need to review the progress you’re making toward achieving your goals. Should you end up not achieving all you set out to do, this tracking will show you what you did achieve and perhaps where you might have needed to make some adjustments. In addition, when you set a large goal for yourself you need to break it down into smaller pieces. For example, if you’re working toward a degree, the main goal is to get the degree; however, the goals on the way to that goal should be something like completion of either specific classes or of a semester. Little successes on the way to big goals help keep the motivation and confidence alive.

7. Setting Negative Goals – Rather than setting your goals with negative words such as, “I won’t watch so much television this year”, instead use more positive words. For example, if you’re not going to watch so much TV, what are you planning on doing with that time? I’ll spend more time with my family or I’ll exercise more or I’ll take a pottery class. It’s much easier and more pleasant to achieve a positive goal than to avoid a negative.

8. Too Many Goals – Be careful not to overburden yourself with so many goals that none of them get achieved. Your goal plan should be challenging without being stressful and crammed with so many things that it’s impossible to achieve them all. Focus on one or two for your career and one or two for your personal life. Trying to achieve too many goals at one time is setting yourself up for failure. As you accomplish goals, you can replace them with new ones.

Setting goals is something that you should do throughout the year, not just at the start of the New Year. New Year’s resolutions are often ignored or forgotten before Valentine’s Day. Creating a goal plan and following through with it, should be a regular part of life.

“Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” Alan Lakein

Monday, January 30, 2012

Procrastination isn’t cute

By: Lori McMullin, APR, Director of Business Operations & Communications

Center for Business Excellence

Okay, I get it. We are only human, which means we have all avoided something at one point or another. That’s one thing.

What about the perpetual procrastinator who flies by the seat of his/her pants, thrives on the adrenaline rush resulting from “saving the day” at the last minute or, worse yet, avoids something long enough that someone else has to pick up the slack?

When we routinely do this, we let ourselves down and affect our relationships with others who count on us.

Here is an interesting article I found on the subject. What are you waiting for? Read on:


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Buried Treasure

Posted by: Darlene Duncan CWDP, JSS, CCC, JCTC, JCDC
Training Coordinator

In today’s job market finding a job is like searching for buried treasure. Here are some non-traditional ideas you can use for your search:

1. If you’re interested in a specific employer; Friend them on Facebook, seek them out on LinkedIn and Twitter.

2. Be more than a voyeur on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Get involved in discussions, especially if the discussions are relevant to the type of work for which you are looking.

3. Connect with people on LinkedIn that work for the company for which you would like to work. Get to know them.

4. Visit the websites of companies for which you would like to work. This will help keep you abreast of what’s going on in those organizations.

5. Set up Google Alerts on companies for which you would like to work. This way whenever they’re mentioned in the news, you’ll be notified of the issue.

6. Volunteer somewhere doing the kind of work for which you’re trying to get hired. There are multiple benefits to this. One, you’re keeping your skills sharp. Two, you might pick up some new skills. Three, you’re out there in the world meeting people, people who might have job leads for you. Four, the place you’re volunteering for may decide to hire you. Five, you can put your volunteer work on your résumé. This lets employers see that you’re not sitting at home waiting for something to happen. You’re out there trying to make something positive happen for yourself.

7. If you belong to a specific profession, find associations and other websites related to that profession.

Remember, people like to help people who have helped them. When you go to these social media sites, don’t just be there as a taker. You need to give of yourself. Offer helpful suggestions. This applies to face-to-face situations as well as social media sites.

Maybe you’ve connected with a person who works at the company you really want to hire you. They have posted a request for help with a work related problem. If you know of a solution or have an idea to offer them, do so.

One final note today, don’t whine. Be positive. Negativity is a huge turn off.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Is multitasking a good thing?

By: Lori McMullin, APR, Director of Business Operations & Communications

Center for Business Excellence

A couple of weekends ago, my husband and I watched the movie, “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Of course, we had a debate in front of the Red Box about whether or not it would be any good (hubby agreed it was).

Parker's overextended character is a brokerage firm professional who manages to juggle it all – amidst coming to work with pancake batter in her hair, remembering in the middle of coming home from a business trip she has promised to bake a pie for her daughter’s school bake sale the next morning, and so on. As she says, she keeps juggling, but never gets to toss anything to someone else. Sound familiar?

I found this interesting article on multitasking or, rather, how not to, and thought I’d share it with you: