Planning and implementing personal goals

The pace of change of the companies and our work continues to increase.

In this environment, assuming responsibility for one’s own personal development has become a decisive part of a manager’s self-management. This also includes the continuous further development of skills and knowledge and the conscious management of one’s own resources.

Effective learning begins with a clear sense of responsibility for one’s own life. This includes developing a personal (life) vision and strategy with a commitment to lifelong reflection, learning and effort.

A fundamental aspect of a successful manager is to maintain an eye for a healthy and well-balanced life. Similar to top athletes, managers do hard work, but also need periods of regeneration and reflection.

A key skill for managers is to identify the right time to “take a break” – a time to reflect, learn, balance – and to know when they need a break.

Executives who have a vision of their own professional and private development and strategies to achieve that vision are more successful in times of change than those who are less goal-oriented in their development and personal growth.

The following steps to strategic self-management will guide you to become more aware of your life and help you to lead your life on your own responsibility.

1) Consider all your areas of life and your sources of power

When we think of leadership, we think first and often exclusively of a professional context. Good leadership starts with me

  • the professional,
  • business context the private and family context
  • and the individual context

I’ve been thinking about. Only if you know your goals in each of these areas, understand the interactions of the three areas and consciously lead yourself in all areas of life will you remain healthy and successful in the long run.

  • What gives you strength in life, from which areas of life?
  • How do you recognize that your life is in balance/out of balance?
  • Where is the most power lost?
  • What can you do, what do you have to pay attention to, so that your life remains permanently in balance and you have sufficient strength in every life situation?

2) Clarify your different roles and the expectations associated with them

We all fill different roles in our lives. Often we are not aware of the multitude of roles and the associated expectations of the environment. It is not unusual for an adult person to assume more than ten roles. Examples of different roles are mentioned:

  • My role as superior
  • My role as project manager
  • My role as an employee
  • My role as an expert on …
  • My role as father/mother

If the roles are not clear, problems can arise with time planning. It is an important basis for the correct setting of priorities. Therefore it is very helpful to think about who has what expectations of me in a certain role and whether I accept this role definition. Once this has been clarified, it is advisable to define the typical scope of tasks covered by the role. It is also of great importance to know how my environment measures the performance of its tasks – these are, so to speak, the criteria for success.

3) Create and define your personal (life) vision

a) Discover your core values.
What are the five core values you are convinced from, which are important principles for all areas of your life and that you want to adhere to in all future situations of your life?

b) Discover your core purpose.
Imagine the end of your life. What did you live for? What was your special and individual contribution to this world? What is your core purpose that motivates you and gives you energy?

c) Develop a clear picture of your future.
Imagine yourself in ten years. What would make you really proud if you achieved it in ten years? What would you really look forward to achieving? Where would you be professionally? How would your professional life look like? Where would you stand in your private life and family environment? What would you have achieved there? What would have developed for you personally? What will be important for you in ten years, regarding your professional life, your private life, for you personally? Draw a clear picture of your future. It may not be 100 percent true, but a clear picture of your future increases your chances of getting close to it.

4) Gain an overview of your personal strengths, weaknesses and development potential

The prerequisite for setting personal career and life goals is recognizing where you currently stand and what potential you have. Use feedback from colleagues, supervisors, partners and friends to take stock.

  • What are your strengths? What are you particularly good at? Where and with which skills are you particularly successful?
  • Where do you have weaknesses? What are you not good at? Where are you less successful?
  • Which unused potentials are still recognizable in your company? Which skills are available, but are not yet or not sufficiently used and can be developed?

5) Analyze the market and environment

In order to define realistic, achievable career and life goals, you need a good assessment of how the (job) market and your environment are developing.

  • Which strengths/profiles will be needed in the different areas of life in the future?
  • Where are there new opportunities?
  • Where are the risks/possible dead ends?
  • What should I pay special attention to?

6) Define your personal career and life goals for the next few years

Now it is time to put together the elements of the first steps. Consider one after the other all your areas of life, the professional context, the private and family context and the individual context.

Take a look at your (life) vision and once again visualize your strengths, weaknesses and development potentials and the expected developments in the market and the environment.

  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • What exactly do you want to have achieved by then?
  • How will you know you achieved it?

7) Plan the path to your goals strategically

a) Develop implementation strategies for your professional and private goals, taking into account your strengths and previous life experience:

  • What paths can you take to achieve your goals?
  • Which strengths can you use and how? Which still develop?
  • What skills and knowledge can you use? Which still develop?
  • Who can support you and how? How can you reach the support?
  • What framework conditions need to be taken into account?
  • Where do you see risks? How will you deal with the risks?

b) Plan concrete steps for the next three months:

  • What will you do in the next three months on the way to your professional and private vision? When did you say that? With who?
  • What will help you to remember your plans regularly?
  • How will you measure/recognize your success?

Develop a plan of activities with concrete deadlines that motivates you and convinces you that it will help you on your way.

Source: Workbook Selbstorganisation, Coverdale Germany