Setting Achievable Goals

Goal Setting for a New Year

Posted January 8, 2020

So, a new year, 2020 is upon us and I’m often asked by leaders how to set effective goals for a new year. First, this is where self-reflection really makes this process much more effective and realistic to achieve. As many of you know I’m a huge proponent of journaling (and no it isn’t the “dear diary” stuff of teenage girls), I’m talking mature, self-reflection of how you handled professional and personal situations of import in your life so that you can review and learn from them. It’s why every attendee of an Intentional Leadership class receives a “starter” journal to get them in the habit of doing just that – writing about their experiences as a leader.  So, if you have been writing in your journals on a regular basis, you have a record of what you have seen as areas needing improvement for you to advance as a leader and, hopefully a list of possible focus areas for new year goals.

In this post, I will share with you some thoughts on how I have done this in my leadership journey and what I’ve found works effectively. First, I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the concept of S.M.A.R.T. when setting goals: make them Specific; make them Measurable; make them Achievable; make them Relevant to your leadership; and finally, are they Timebound. If any of these aspects of SMART are not clearly defined, the goal is likely going to fail. It’s why most new year’s resolutions fail.

Goal setting only works if you are “all-in” in your leadership. The goals you set must stretch you and must be specific to each area of your life you wish to focus on. When you are new to the process, I recommend picking one personal goal and one professional goal to work on for a short period of time. It might look something like this:

Personal – to make sure I eat dinner with my family at least 3 times each week.

Professional – to read one book that grows me a leader each month (if you are not a reader) and maybe one book per week if you are a reader.

So what to do if you are more advanced and want to really work on multiple areas at one time? Recently, I read an article by Dr. Kenneth Acha, who wrote about the three types of goals: outcome, process and performance goals. Each goal varies from the other based on the amount of control you wish to have. For example, we typically have the most control over process goals, while outcome goals give us the least control. An example of this would be NCAA sports. A coach can set a goal for the team of winning their division and conference championship knowing they have the most control over these based on talent and player health, but stop short of setting a goal of winning a national championship because the coach has little control over whether they will even be in a position to compete. What the coach knows, is by setting the division and conference goals, they are giving their team achievable and specific targets to hit that put them in the best position to compete for a national championship.

The second set of goals are process goals, Acha explains that process goals allow you to set the “procedures” that will put you in a position to achieve the desired success or outcome. Continuing with the NCAA analogy, this would mean how much practice the team will do, how they will do it? What drills they will run? What scrimmages will they do to challenge the team to be it’s best? What nutritional program and study assistance with the student athletes require to help them stay on target physically, mentally and emotionally? What will coaches do to impact player mindset? All of these do not predict the outcome, but the develop a specific strategy and process for how the players will condition themselves to be in position to achieve those outcome goals. Finally, Acha talks about Performance goals or the standards you will use to achieve your goals. So, the NCAA team might say we will win our division and conference titles by training ourselves mentally and physically daily so that we are in peak condition to compete and win our division and conference championship.

Visually it might look something like this:

Goal setting involves setting a series of short-term goals that are achievable. For example, if your goal is to lose weight this year, then start by setting a short-term goal that levels up from where you are. If you haven’t been exercising, then start by committing to working out a set number of days each week for 30 minutes each. Try to stick with it first for 3 weeks. Studies have shown that it takes about 21 days to change any habit. Then level up again. For the next 3 weeks try eliminating sugar on all days but Saturday and continuing your exercise. Then add another and another for each successive 3 weeks. The same can hold true for any area of your life be it your relationship with your spouse, your kids or your co-workers. Pick one thing you feel is important and focus on executing consistently for at least 3 weeks. Soon it will become part of your daily routine.

Goal setting can be fun when it’s done right. Don’t sit down this week and write a list of resolutions that sound great but won’t go anywhere! Instead, really reflect on what you want to improve this year as a leader at work and in life. Pick one behavior related to that, that you can change and do it for 3 weeks and then add another behavior to it. After a few months, you’ll be surprised how much your mindset has changed and how much you’ve accomplished.

I want to hear what some of your goals are for 2020 as leaders. Please share in the comments or on Twitter at @LHLN by Dean Crisp.

I look forward to seeing each of you gain clarity in 2020 as to the type of leader you wish to be.



Article by Dr. Kenneth Acha


Image result for goal setting

“Goal setting can be fun when it’s done right.”


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Four Pillars of Leadership,

Pillar 2: Emotional Intelligence,

Organizational Awareness

In this week’s blog post, I continue the series on Pillar 2 of the 4 critical components of a leader, Emotional Intelligence, by looking at the 3rd component of Emotional Intelligence, Organizational Awareness.

Emotional Intelligence remains a key ingredient in the development of corporate leaders. More and more it’s becoming THE key component of what organizations demand in quality leadership. This week, we will look at the 3rd component of Emotional Intelligence as defined by Daniel Goleman, Organizational Awareness.

Organizational Awareness is defined by the author of the original book on emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman, as having the ability to read a group’s emotional currents and power relationships, as well as the ability to identify influences, networks, and overall dynamics within an organization.

While I will always argue that all aspects of emotional intelligence are critical to leadership success, I will state that, especially in law enforcement leadership, a leader’s ability to practice organizational awareness is perhaps THE one aspect that will determine long-term success as a law enforcement leader.

An emotionally intelligent leader who practices organizational awareness can do the following:

  • Make more informed decisions based on the tangible and intangible data. They know what the appetite for a decision is, who needs to be influenced, and why and how to influence them.
  • Develop a clear strategy to getting things done because they know the internal (and external) landscapes.  The emotionally intelligent leader can identify the right person or team for the right job at the right time.
  • Communicate in a way that resonates (and in a way that supercedes the “negative” influencers within the organization) by understanding the unwritten language and tone of their organization.
  • Build a coalition that gets things done. They have the ability to motivate others to work towards a shared goal.

Perhaps the best example of Organizational Awareness is the character “Radar” in the Emmy-Award-Winning-TV Series, M*A*S*H.  For those Millennials and iGens not familiar with the show, it is about a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War.  While much of the show centers on the real work and off-duty antics of the surgical staff, it is Radar that time and again proves to be the true “hub” of the wheel.

Radar was the company clerk and, by many standards, quite naive in the ways of the world, but he was the one character in the show that could make things happen. No matter what the need was (blood, medical supplies, jeeps, tents, etc.) it was Radar that possessed the organizational awareness and knowledge of how the Army supply chain worked to get what his unit needed.

We’ve all known a “Radar” who just gets things done.  While all components of Emotional Intelligence are critical to the long-term success of a leader, many who rise to the top possess Organizational Awareness. They see the players (positive and negative) and understand how to work them and the system more maximum impact. This doesn’t make them manipulative, but rather aware of the specific needs and wants of each group operating within the system.

Leaders who understand and master Organizational Awareness will find it most useful in navigating change within the organization, improving communication within and among their peers, superiors and colleagues and in making the right decisions regarding personnell placement. Using your understanding of how each piece works with the other in support of the organizational mission is key to making informed decisions.

When one considers Organizational Awareness as a law enforcement leader or the leader of any other organization, you must look outside the organization as well. What are the external as well as the internal pressures that impact your organization. As a Chief of Police for more than 17 years in two distinctly different organizations, I learned very quickly that it wasn’t just me that impacted my organization, but the local political climate, the media, and my superiors who were civilian appointed and elected officials. Understanding their impact and influence on me and my organization AND how best to navigate those was a key to my success and is the key to your success as a leader.

Next week we will finish up Pillar 2: Emotional Intelligence by discussing how Organizational Awareness becomes truly  effective by understanding how to Manage Relationships in the Organization.

Until then, keep the growth going by sharing this and our other posts on social media.  I’d also love to hear your thoughts on this post by seeing your comments on it. Please login to comment and, if you haven’t done so already, please sign up for free to comment on the blogs and podcasts.