Goal Setting – Why Bother?

Author By Jim Lara

Another New Year has dawned. And for many of you, that means it’s time for Human Resources to prod your business aviation staff to start some goal setting and career planning.

So, tell me: what’s on your personal and professional horizons?

What are your aspirations?

And how will you arrive at your desired destination?

Why Bother with Goal Setting?

Hmm . . . did I hear a faint whisper that you think this year will probably end up being more of the same? Did I hear you say that goal setting is another time-wasting “corporate-check-the-box” exercise?

Surely, you’re not satisfied with “drifting” through the coming year with no intended course  . ..  no road to get you “THERE.”

Without charting a path, getting “THERE” will certainly turn out to be getting “NO WHERE.”

And that means that, professionally, you’re more likely to fall behind due to some negative momentum. Personally, you’ll have squandered another year.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be your reality.

Why Setting Goals Actually Works

In our work with many aviation organizations, we’ve seen strong resistance to the standard, corporate-inspired performance review cycles, goal-setting requirements and individual development plans.

The reason why aviation professionals resist these initiatives is because they don’t relate to aviation.

Thus, aviation organizations develop some passive resistance to or grudging compliance with these exercises, which some of them regard as “meaningless puffery.”

This produces lackluster performance assessments, goal statements and development plans. Then they’re filed and forgotten.

If this has been your modus operandi (either personally or organizationally), I would ask, “How’s it working for you and your aviation team?”

Are you really achieving your optimal results and outcomes?

The honest answer is that this approach isn’t working now.It truly hasn’t worked in the past and there’s no reason to believe that it’ll work in the future.

Okay, now that we’re being truthful, what should you do?

Determining What You Want to Achieve

Start with the realization that effective goal setting is the one single activity that generates the largest return on investment (ROI)for you and your organization.

To help you get started, answer these questions:

  • Who has the greatest positive and negative influence on my personal and professional success?
  • Who has more control over me than anyone else?

Hint: Go look in the mirror. (Yes, both answers are “ME”).

Now, you need to answer these very fundamental,fork-in-the-road questions.

How do you define, in quantitative and qualitative terms, your ultimate level of professional success? Yes, you have to do some “Imagineering.”

Write down your ultimate position title and the position’s impact upon you and the organization.

What have you accomplished along the way?

What skill sets have you mastered?

How do your peers, subordinates and superiors describe you? Note: You’ll likely end up with three to five descriptive statements that relate to your future state of being.

Where are you right now? What is your current state relative to your desired future state?

Gap-Closure Actions

Now, your task is to define the gaps.

What’s missing? What do you have to learn? What must you experience before you can reach that future state? And, finally, what must you do to close the gaps that you have identified?

These “Gap Closure Actions” can be an integral part of both your goal setting as well as your Individualized Development Plan.

Here’s a key reminder: No aviation professional is an island.

Each of us needs help from others to achieve our fully actualized potential. You must have the support/endorsement/sponsorship of those who control the resources that you’ll need (e.g., time, money, mentorship and political capital).

These four resources are precious, and you’re going to have to influence others to allocate them to you. But remember: in actuality, those in a position to allocate resources to you don’t owe you anything; you are entitled to nothing.

To earn your sponsors help, you’re going to have to convince them that you’re worthier than others.

Your own compelling story will need to highlight yourself-perceived future state and what resources you’ll need to achieve your objectives.

And, of course, you will need to define the ROI that your sponsors will enjoy when you reach your maximum potential.

Now you can see that there are three legs to the stool that supports your long-term professional success:

  1. Defining your future state long before you get there.
  2. Quantifying the specific resources necessary for you to close your gaps.
  3. Identifying the key sponsors along your path essential to achievement of your future state.

As you can see, goal setting is a vital tool that will help you reach and pass each step along the way.

How to State Your Goal Using the RUMBA Method

Precisely how will you know if your stated goal is of sufficient quality and complete? At Gray Stone Advisors, we like to use the acronym “RUMBA.”

Using the RUMBA method, a goal must have these five characteristics/qualities:

RRealizable within the time period and seek resources that are realistically available to you.

UUnderstandable, in simple terms.

MMeasurable, in quantitative, not qualitative, terms.

BBehavioral choices and actions to help you support the goal’s actualization.

AAgreed upon resources, at the visceral level, between you and those controlling the resources.

Once your goal statements pass the RUMBA test, you can be confident that you have a solid goal statement platform that will support the achievement of your objectives.

As you successfully navigate this goal-setting process,you’ll not only have performance goals for the year, but you’ll have the beginnings of a career development plan. These performance goals and career plans will be pivotal in guiding you towards achieving the pinnacles of career performance and accomplishment.

So, again, why bother with goal setting? Because it’s essential to your ultimate career success, that’s why!


Your Turn

What are some of your professional goals this year?

Contact Us - We'd love to hear from you.