Setting Up for Success


I once took a program management course where the instructor said, “If you can’t change unrealistic objectives and deadlines, accept them and start looking for another job.” While I certainly understand where he was coming from, in most cases, it’s really not advice to follow.

How many of you are faced with goals you can’t meet? Early on in my career, I had a boss whose favorite phrase was “Make it happen.” While he had great vision of what could be, his vision had no connection to the reality of budgets, timing, and regulations. It was a rocky road but eventually I found my voice and learned the value of telling him what I thought was realistic and could be achieved.

Most of us are have been schooled in SMART goals. You remember them – goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound. How often do we, our teams, and/or our organizations follow this rubric? How do we help set objectives and deadlines that are realistic and still produce needed results and innovation? What I’m going to suggest isn’t revolutionary – listen and engage.

There is a wealth of knowledge and experience around you. Tap into it. Lay out the challenges. Talk about the desired impact. Ask for help. Listen. Explore possibilities. Set up for success. The energy derived from meeting objectives and deadlines generates more energy for the next steps. It’s a win-win.

This Week: With all that is going on in the world today, “listen and engage” is key to progress. Listen to hear and not to respond. Be thought-full. Start at home, if you need to, and build the muscle. Expand it to your work environment. Create alignment and synergy. So much more is accomplished when you engage others.

In Next Week’s Post: Fostering Open Communication

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