Pearson’s Law states “that which is measured improves. That which is measured and recorded improves dramatically.” My clients are taught to live by this law through tracking their annual goals, quarterly goals, and weekly progress. This blog post lays out the major elements that we use in tracking these goals. I encourage you to create a similar type of tracking sheet to keep you focused in a VUCA world.
Start with Mission, Vision, Values
The tracking begins at a broad level and becomes more specific as it progresses. We start by stating our personal mission and vision statements (there are numerous ways to create these, and I will be writing a blog post about my process for developing these in the near future). This keeps us focused on our why. Why are we doing what we are doing? What purposes are we serving? What does success look like for us on a meta-level?
We then articulate the personal values that are the criteria for our actions and way of being in the world. My favorite activity to clarify values is the Barrett Personal Values Assessment (link), but again there are multiple resources out there that assist in clarifying your personal values. Recording these values in one place reminds us of the way we want to show up in all areas of our lives.
Annual Goals – Personal and Professional
Next, we articulate the personal growth goals for the year. These are separate from the professional goals for the year (see next paragraph). These personal growth goals are the articulation of how we want to be in the world during the coming year and how this way of being will result in what we will do. Balancing this being-doing polarity is one of the keys to successful growth in our lives. Personal growth goals could include such things as “being more present” a key theme for me and my clients. We can support this with a certain number of minutes of mindfulness practiced over the course of a year (for instance, a commitment of 20 minutes of mindfulness every day would result in 7,300 minutes of mindfulness during the year. Another goal could be something related to health and nutrition. Whatever it is, these goals should be 1) personal, 2) important to you and others, 3) a stretch for you to achieve. I encourage you to have at least three personal growth goals, and probably no more than five to ensure you can achieve these in one year’s time.
Next, we move to annual professional goals. These are your more run-of-the mill goals that could be in your business objectives (if you work for a company), but they can also be for the self-employed person who wants to hold themselves accountable for certain targets they want to achieve during the year. I am a fan of the SMART goals framework, which stands for Strategic, Measurable, Attainable, R, and T. These goals should again be 1) important to you, 2) important for your company/team/organization, 3) a stretch for you to achieve.
Making it more manageable – Quarterly Targets
I then ask my clients to break their annual goals down into quarterly targets that will indicate they are on track to achieve the annual goals. To get at these, simply ask yourself “What are the key things I need to get done in the next three months that will keep me on track to achieve my annual goals?” It’s important here to be realistic about what is feasible. One tendency I see is my clients trying to get it all done in the first quarter, which sets them up to be disappointed, which causes them to lose momentum/desire. Really take the time to break down the annual targets into quarterly targets and socialize these with your peers for achievability.
Daily Key Performance Indicators
Finally, we have a list of “Key Performance Indicators” “KPIs that will support the achievement of the quarterly targets and the annual goals. These are pulled from years of research into what the highest performing people do to set up their days/weeks to be at their best. I ask my clients to keep a daily log of these KPIs and they have to turn them into me at the end of each week so we can discuss their results on our coaching calls. If you don’t have the time or resources to work with a coach, I encourage you to still work with an “accountability partner” who you can send your results to at the end of each week. Psychology teaches us that when we feel accountable to someone, or when we know we may experience shame having not done something, we are much more motivated to push through and get things done. The weekly KPI tracking keeps the necessary practices front and center to support you in achieving quarterly and annual goals. For instance, a person who is trying to be more present, has set a goal to do 7,300 minutes of mindfulness this year, would track their daily mindfulness minutes. They may also have a goal to lose 10 pounds this year, and a daily practice of “intermittent fasting” to support this weight loss that they can keep track of throughout the week.
Breaking down your goals to the level of daily practice keeps you going, allows you that hit of dopamine in the brain for every small accomplishment towards the larger goals, and keeps you honest about how well you are doing on the larger journey of personal/professional growth.