Screenshot 2015-12-01 20.09.19

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2016 Goal Setting

In the earlier post, 2016 your best year ever, we discussed the end of year review. In particular the key themes for the upcoming year.

Based upon the themes, you then develop an outline of your goals for 2016. The outcome should be no more than 3–4 big goals. Perhaps one goal per theme.

Did you manage to develop a list of goals? Or are you still struggling to find the small number of goals which will make a real difference to 2016?

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Some things to consider

The Goals are in addition to business as usual

In 2016, one thing is certain. Your business or career will need ongoing attention. The day-to-day will not change suddenly. In fact, a lot will initially continue as the normal business does. That is, business as usual (BAU).

Your 2016 goals are over and above BAU. You may even be targeting the elimination of some of the chaos associated with the BAU whirlwind. To make an impact, you need to choose just a small number of big goals. Those goals that will make a material difference to your career or business. Too many goals and they get lost in the whirlwind of activity


You are only going to select 2–3 big goals. So make sure they are going to have a meaningful impact. Some of you will work in bigger businesses, where the priorities for 2016 are set by others. If this is the case, ensure that your goals have an impact on the business priorities.

If you are a business owner or freelancer, then you will need to set the themes and choose the meaningful goals. The themes must be aligned to the culture of business that you wish to develop. The themes can be financial, community or customer related or perhaps product related. Only you can identify these for you business. This is why we are allowing 40 hours, a full week, for this phase of the 2016 best year yet project.

Think about your role first

In identifying goals, put the responsibility on yourself first. It does not matter if you are an employee within a company or the business owner. Identifying goals starts with the individuals. Think about your own personal career/business goals. Have they been included? Spend time with your pen and paper (analog or digital!) doing this.

Then engage the broader team

Once your own thinking is done, you then need to work with the team. You may or may not be driving this activity. If you are leading the goal setting activity, then encourage everyone involved to do their own work in advance of a team working session. Give the guidance and themes the team needs to prepare well.

Goals – shortlist 1

From all the work to date, you will likely have a shortlist of goals. Some will have detailed thinking completed. Others may still be vague. Now it is time to develop some details around the exact goal and what is involved in achieving it.

Choosing goals

Before selecting your final goals, you will need to do some research into:

  • Why is this goal meaningful? How does it drive me/us towards my/our most important goals?
  • What do I/we need to do to make it happen? Who needs to be part of the team?
  • How will I/we go about it? How much will it cost? How long will it take, or how long have we available to do it?

A nice list of questions that I call the Project Scuttlebutt. Derived from the ship’s bucket around which sailors would gather to share the latest gossip at sea. Scuttlebutt refers to all the qualitative information that the best managers combine with their number crunching to assess the impact of a particular goal.

It’s about gossip and information from those in the know. But it is also about the personal observations and insights that employees and managers get by going out and kicking the tyres. It is not the definitive business case. But it is a means of validating the value of investing further time in developing the details required to select a particular goal or project. Or perhaps to cut some ideas which are never going to fly.

At the end of the work to date, you should have a shortlist of your goals. The work to date can be done within 8–12 hours. This leaves you with a further 28–32 hours for the rest.

The best 2016

We will continue this topic throughout the next month. If you have any questions or comments, then leave a comment below. If you would like to see some of the detail of my goal setting and planning, then sign up for my newsletter.

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