Make your goals Motivating, Measurable, and Manageable!
As I work with leaders to change habits or behaviors, I always drive for actionable goal commitments. I want to take immediate advantage of any new insight and any emotional commitment to trying something new. So, I try to drive the close of every conversation into a clear, action step. The 3 M’s make it easy to remember and provide a clear approach to goal-setting. Make sure your goals are Motivating, Measurable, and Manageable!
Motivating = Desirable + Stretch
Sometimes in coaching there are things that others may point to for change (maybe in a 360-survey) that the ‘coachee’ is not ready to accept or agree to. How successful do you think the change effort will be when the said ‘change-er’ is not interested? Not so much. The goal that is set must be desirable to the person setting the goal — they must see the value in the change that outweighs the cost of changing. Instead, let’s encourage goal-setting around something for which the person is excited to change. Once you have a goal that is desirable, it is also important that the goal is enough of a stretch that there is value in completing. Who wants to check off a simple ‘yes, I did this’ when it does not require much effort? Effective folks want a goal that is challenging, that stretches their personal commitment. So, for the goal to be motivation it must be both desirable and stretch.
Measurable = Specific + Quantifiable
To make a goal specific and measurable can be as simple as defining what is meant by ‘more often’ or ‘less often’. There has to be a measure of success that is clearly observable by the person making the change and/or the target of the change (e.g., direct reports). Of course, measurable to some of us is only exciting if we can apply a mathematical pre-post formula. But, there are other ways to make a goal measurable, but being specific about the ‘pre and post’ behavior or scenario and then defining the frequency.
Manageable = Reasonable + Chunked
There are people who can set wild, hairy, crazy goals that seem so far out of reach and somehow find a way to achieve them. Maybe all of us have that in us every once in awhile. However, I would bet on the success rate of a manageable goal on a more frequent basis. Remember, the goal still has to have some ‘stretch’ to it (see first point), but the measure of reasonableness is also important. The concept of chunked is related to the idea of setting big goals and then planning ‘small wins’ along the way. Take that big, hairy goal and break it down into smaller projects, tasks, or steps in order to celebrate progress along the way.
I have seen many models for goal-setting, but like the 3M’s for their simplicity, succinctness, and sell-ability with coaches. I feel a 3S model coming on next!