Our Experts | Anna Hermann, Marketing Strategist
Hitting goals in undoubtedly important in your life, both personally and professionally. And while hitting personal goals is fulfilling, hitting professional goals is a huge key to your career. I’ve recently learned about some of the most important goals to always make sure you hit: effort goals.
Most of the time, when we think about goal setting, we’re considering outcome goals. That is, goals that achieve a certain end result. While outcome goals are hugely important, in some cases, they are not entirely within control.
I can’t speak for all managers, but my own is pretty understanding when you need a reasonable project extension here and there. If you’ve worked hard, communicated progress or roadblocks and given enough notice, a new deadline can likely be arranged. However, my manager recently pointed out that some goals are “effort goals,” a concept I’d never heard of before.
Effort goals are exactly what they sound like: goals that can easily be achieved as long as you make an effort. Commonly they are learning goals: watch this video, complete this training, read this article, etc. It is an assignment that will make you a better employee and all it takes is your time and a small amount of effort.
Other sorts of effort goals directly correlate with your outcome-focused goals. For instance, in marketing, an effort goal may be to post on social media 20 times a week, which should affect your outcome goal of generating leads. Posting on social media mostly takes time. It’s not a task with potential roadblocks that can easily be derailed – it is an effort goal. This type of effort goal exists to help ensure we’re taking the steps to reach our big-picture goals.
We all get busy. We all have deadlines racing towards us, piles of work that keep growing and more unread emails than we’d like to count. But effort goals can’t be placed on the backburner. It might not always seem like it, but they are just as important as big projects that will prove ROI. This is because active learning helps to keep you a valuable employee in your field and industry, and if you aren’t always developing yourself, you can quickly fall behind. Effort goals may also seem mundane but help support the bigger picture of your job and your company’s goals.
Hitting effort goals shows your manager that you can prioritize your work to hit simpler goals, and that you are invested in improving yourself as an employee. It also shows that you care about all the work they assign, and respect the value they place on each project. Managers are, in part, responsible for your growth, but they can’t help you if you won’t put in the effort.
With no other roadblocks than your own prioritization skills and willpower, there’s really no excuse to miss an effort goal. What kinds of professional effort goals do you set for yourself, or your team?