Often, way too often, people start off the year with their goals from their management team, work on them diligently for a month or two, and then reality sets in. As in, the goals get stuffed in the electronic file to be forgotten about. Until performance review time.
That’s when the panic sets in. You see, your goals are on your performance review whether you stuffed them into an electronic folder because reality set in or not.
Then, when your performance review comes along, you sputter about how unfair it is to get judged on your goals because you didn’t have time to work on them after the first quarter because reality set in.
Doesn’t matter. You’re the person responsible for your goals. To make the goals, of course, but to get the goals changed when reality sets in.
Your goals are your most important work as determined by you and your manager. But, the world changes and what was critical in January becomes mitigated in March. And something new becomes critical — that’s the new goal.
If you’re one of those people who have stuffed your goals into an electronic file somewhere, it’s time to open that file and take a good hard look. You’re halfway through the year and if the goals you’re looking at for the first time in months don’t resemble anything you’re working on right now, then now is the time to go to your manager and negotiate your goals over again.
And if your manager doesn’t want to change your goals, but keep the ones you have, then now is the time to stop working on anything that doesn’t relate to your goals because your goals are what your work is being evaluated on for your review.
If people don’t like the fact that you won’t take on work not related to your goals, have them go talk to your manager. Sooner or later, one of two things will happen: either your goals will change because it is apparent they shouldn’t be your goals, or, the work not related to your goals will go away.
I suppose there is a third option as well: your manager expects you to meet your goals AND do all the work not related to your goals anyway. Which tells you everything you need to know about your manager.
If you can’t have a rational discussion about the work you’re doing related to the goals you have for your performance review, then you’re setting yourself up to have no influence about your work or review. Plus a little stress thrown in for all the ambiguity. At least you have six months to figure out how this will play out before your review.
Now is the time to review the different facets of the SMART acronym and see if they still apply to your goals. If they do, that’s great — how are you doing achieving the goals?
If they don’t match up, take some time to figure out what should change for your goals in your opinion and then sit down with your manager and have a goals conversation.
Always put yourself in the best position for your work to meet your goals. If something changes with the work, make sure the old goal gets closed out in a mutually agreeable manner and a new goal gets put in its place.
It’s what Cubicle Warriors do.