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Published on March 17, 2020

15 Performance Goals For Delivering Uncommon Results At Work

15 Performance Goals For Delivering Uncommon Results At Work

For every job, there are expectations that have to be met, and there are also key performance indicators that are used to rate and grade an employee. Employers set performance goals for their employees to specify work targets as well as project or work deliverables.

Whether you are working for someone or working for yourself, there is a need to set your own performance goals in order to maximize your potential, boost your personal productivity, and exceed the expectations of your employer or clients.

In this article, you will find tips on why you need to set performance goals, as well as 15 performance goal examples that you can set to achieve career and work excellence.

What are Performance Goals?

Performance Goals are short-term objectives that are set for specific duties in your current job position.[1] They are also described as performance expectations related to work to be accomplished and/or core competencies.[2]

Performance goals might be set in terms of improvements to be made, actions to be taken, attributes to develop, and things to cut down on in the work process in order to increase productivity and achieve desired results.

Performance goals can be an agreement between an employer and an employee, or it can be the personal initiative of the employee to meet or exceed their own work targets and boost their chances for a promotion or pay raise.

The focus here is taking your own initiatives, setting your own goals, and helping to achieve uncommon results daily in your career.

Why You Need to Set Performance Goals

Here are some good reasons you should be setting your own performance goals:

To Meet Organizational Requirements

The requirements of your work might be daunting and even beyond your reach. However, when you carefully plan and set goals towards meetings these requirements, you will find untapped energy, resources, and even more opportunities to accomplish your goals.

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To Be Both Efficient and Effective

Renowned American management consultant Peter Drucker said:

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

Your boss might have to tell you how to do the job right, but you have to take the initiative to work out for yourself what the right job is.

This means looking for uncommon ways to achieve the overall organizational business objectives and going the extra mile in doing what the organization never thought was possible.

To Position Yourself for a Promotion

Setting and achieving your performance goals will earn you a favorable reputation in your organization. It will also open you up to many incentives, including pay raises, promotions, and elevation to a higher office.

The ordinary worker is rewarded for efficiency, whereas the extraordinary worker is promoted for effectiveness.

To Boost Your Employability

Your performance in your current position is the key to your future employment. This holds for people in business too — the satisfaction of your current client might lead to getting a referral for another client.

When you achieve uncommon results by setting performance goals, you are also indirectly opening up future opportunities for yourself.

15 Examples of Performance Goals

The following examples can help you set performance goals that will boost your productivity, impress your boss and coworkers, and set you up for success.

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1. Be Punctual at Work, Meetings, and Events

Punctuality is essential to performance. By arriving early at work, meetings, and events, your mind will be calm, concentrated, and organized as you think through the day’s work and start early.

Furthermore, punctuality also sends some positive signals about you to colleagues, seniors, and even your clients. Being on time consistently demonstrates foresight, competence, and reliability. It shows everyone around that you are the master of your life; you can anticipate possible hang-ups and have the ability to change your plans and accommodate those hang-ups.

Set a goal to be on time, and it will boost both your performance and reputation.

2. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Exercise Regularly

Work requires positive energy, mental alertness, and concentration. Therefore, you need to continually put your body in a state whereby it can perform optimally. Diet and exercise affect the state of your health, which has a direct impact on performance.

You are what you eat, so plan to eat foods for optimal health. Also, plan a regular exercise schedule to put your body in good shape.

3. Take Initiative

Set a goal to always take your own initiative. It is easier to get submerged with work requirements when you forget to do this. You sometimes need to look outside the requirements of your organization, get to know the trends in the larger industry, and apply uncommon techniques to achieve your overall organizational goals.

Taking initiative might not occur to you naturally until you have set a specific goal to do so.

4. Improve Your Work Quality

What is the quality of your deliverables? It’s not good for your personal or company reputation for your deliverables to get rejected often. If there are too many complaints about your work, it probably means that you are doing something wrong.

Your supervisor will be happy to spend less energy on trying to correct your work, and your clients will be happy not to see flaws in your deliverables. Set goals to always ensure you do your best to only send out work with a touch of finesse.

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5. Request (and Utilize) Feedback

One of the ways to improve your performance at work is to get regular feedback. Positive feedback will encourage you to identify and, if possible, repeat the actions that brought the previous results, while negative feedback will help you to know what you should improve on.

6. Develop Job Knowledge and Skills

You might have good intentions, but not having the required working knowledge and skills will impair your performance. Set a goal to acquire emerging knowledge and skills required in your industry. You might need to sign up for short courses or simply carry out research to get to know the recent trends and developments.

7. Support and Advance Your Organization’s Vision, Mission, and Values

You need to see your work as helping to accomplish the larger objectives of your organization. Then you can set performance goals to make it happen.

The popular story of the American president John F. Kennedy and a janitor comes to mind here. The president had visited the NASA space center and saw a janitor carrying a broom. The president asked the janitor what he was doing, and the man replied: “I’m helping put a man on the moon!”

An ordinary worker would have answered differently. When we see the importance of our “little” efforts in making our organization grow, we’ll become more passionate about our responsibilities.

8. Improve Collaboration With Colleagues

You need to bear in mind that you are not in competition with anyone in your organization. You need the cooperation of everyone to achieve your work goals and the organization’s goals.

Collaboration at work creates a healthy work environment where ideas are freely shared. You will be surprised to see your performance improve as you share ideas freely and collaborate within your organization.

9. Know How the Internal Systems Work

If you are in a managerial position, you might need to shadow the departments in your organization and build a wider understanding of what goes into each department’s daily practices. This will help you to understand the challenges and obstacles your team members are experiencing, and you will be able to manage the situation much better than when that knowledge is lacking.[3]

10. Adhere Strictly to Internal Ethics and Standards

One of the ways to boost your performance at work is to work in compliance with ethical and operational standards attached to your job. It’s good to think outside the box, but policies are also meant to be adhered to. This ensures that your work gets appreciated and that you don’t land yourself in avoidable trouble.

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11. Manage Communication Effectively

Effective communication is essential for work performance. This includes both verbal and non-verbal communication. Communicate clearly in reports, presentations, notifications, meetings, etc.

Also, respond to important emails and other forms of inquiries promptly. Ask and seek clarification when necessary, and don’t make assumptions on matters that have not been clearly stated.

12. Improve Your Visibility Within the Organization

Decide to attend and participate actively in both formal and informal meetings within your organization, and air your views when important issues are being discussed. This will give you access to major developments within the organization, which may not be available to the ordinary staff. With such information, you might be able to plan your actions and work accordingly.

13. Showcase Creativity

Creativity can be described as an uncommon display of skills that brings about uncommon solutions and innovations. The value of creativity is measured in terms of the business results that exceed mediocrity [4]. Be intentional about being creative at work.

14. Master Time Management

Set a goal to always take charge of your time. Prioritize and focus on the most important tasks, arrange your time so as not to exceed deadlines, and create some time as well for learning and leisure.

15. Set Personal Standards

Carve a niche for yourself and set standards for growth. Your goal will be to carry out your responsibilities within the framework of your own personal standards.

These standards are based on your work ideals and how you want to build your reputation at work to give you and your work a cutting edge.

The Bottom Line

No matter how you are currently performing at work, there is always room for improvement. Setting performance goals will help you to look into the areas needing improvement and find multiple ways to carry out your responsibilities — better ways that will help you achieve uncommon results.

Featured photo credit: Adeolu Eletu via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

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