It’s hard to achieve anything significant without goals. I suppose it’s theoretically possible, but it hardly ever happens.
Some time ago it was commonplace for managers to have slogans on their office wall. A popular one was a big poster with the words “Conceive – Believe – Achieve.” A quote from Napoleon Hill, Author of Think and Grow Rich.
At the time many thought this was a bit over the top, having something like that on the office wall, but now it makes sense.
It was a constant reminder that you can't achieve anything significant without first planning what success looks like to you.
You have to want to achieve something, so first you need to conceive it, and to do so, you need to think about why you want to achieve it.
In other words, you need to set goals. And for goals to work, they need to be SMART.
What are SMART goals?
Specific – not vague. “Host more community events” is vague, “Host more community events in the Parklands” is specific.
Measurable – “More events” is not measurable. “three more events” is measurable.
Achievable – goals must be achievable – you have to believe you can do it.
Relevant – goals must be relevant to you and your interests, your lifestyle, and in this case career.
Timely – goals should have a time frame. “Host three community events by June 30” is specific and measurable, whereas “host three community events” has no timeframe for achievement.
Then, you have to believe that you can reach your goal.
If you want a promotion, more responsibility, widen your networks - that's not just going to happen by itself.
But if you have SMART goals it will become clearer what you need to do to reach your objectives.
This is when you will, consciously or unconsciously, start to work on HOW you will get there, be it accessing more training, seeking opportunities for more development, gaining more experience and so on.
This approach is far from new. Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937, and others have followed similar concepts. The popular book (and movie), The Secret (2006) was along the same lines. And Norman Vincent Peale wrote “the power of positive thinking” in 1952 along a similar theme.
The concept is this - visualise the desired outcome, (your goal) and you will develop actions to work towards it.
Some people think it’s a bit “smoke and mirrors” and all you have to do is wish for something and it will happen.
Actually, the power of these books is that they help clarify what you really want to achieve, and if sufficiently motivated, you will almost automatically start seeking opportunities and activities that will move you toward achievement of your goal.
So, if you acknowledge what your goals are, and have implemented the SMART goals strategy, then you can achieve what you set out to do.
Programs like the LG Professionals, SA Emerging Leaders Program can be very useful in assisting people to achieve their career goals by providing a targeted program of professional development, training, networking and experience.
The LG Professionals, SA Leadership Excellence Awards recognise outstanding achievement in the local government sector.
These awards serve to not only recognise, but to inspire and encourage others through the sharing of ideas and best-practice approaches.
And certainly, achievements should be both recognised and celebrated. It is celebration that cements positive outcomes, teamwork and the knowledge that hard work and determination reaps rewards.
We applaud all those who set out to achieve, specifically in local government and look forward to celebrating the achievements in the sector at the 17th Annual Leadership Excellence Gala Awards.