By Ben Lewis
A new year creates new opportunity. It is also the time of year when resolutions and goals are made. Why do we make goals and why are goals important? Goals help give us vision for our future, whether it is a near-term or long-term goal. They give us something to aim toward. Goals propel us forward and allow us to improve ourselves and our teams. They help focus our efforts into a plan of action that result in growth. Finally, goals provide us with satisfaction by challenging us and training us in the fulfillment of accomplishment.
Daily and short-term goals are great ways to train yourself to succeed. A daily goal may be to read for 30 minutes a day, go for a walk or get to bed on time. Feeling accomplished in tiny steps daily will make it easier to maintain discipline to reach a short-term goal, like losing that 10 pounds that refuses to go away. In turn, short-term goal success feeds into long-term and lifetime goal success. Winning becomes a habit.
Being committed to goals personally will bleed into your professional life.
An example of a short-term professional goal that I was tasked with this past year was as follows: Insource bed maintenance to the HTM department from an outsourced facilities maintenance vendor by March of 2019. With this goal, my team created a plan. A plan is the roadmap to realizing your goal. It has been commonly said that a goal without a plan is just a wish. The plan consisted of hiring personnel, securing space, creating a budget, completing manufacturer training, marketing the change to affected stakeholders and creating and approving a bed maintenance standard operating procedure (SOP).
When you are setting goals, it is important for goals to be “SMART.” What does it mean for a goal to be SMART? Goals that are SMART are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Oriented.
When goals are vague, planning for them may be difficult. By creating a specific goal, gauging the success of its completion becomes much easier and is also the foundation of the goal’s path to success. Be specific when you are creating your goals so you can make a comprehensive plan that’s success or failure can be easily gauged.
The measurement of a goal may be as easily done or as complicated as the goal itself. Completed or not completed are the simplest measurements for goals. You may also quantify the measurement, at which point you will want to identify the unit of measure. Examples of measurements are percentages of improvement, number of incidents or work orders, financial improvements using dollars in budget variance, increased revenue or decreased spend.
It is important that your goals are also realistic. This does not mean that some of your goals should not be a “stretch goals,” but they should be attainable. As a 40-year-old man, being drafted onto a Major League Baseball team is not a realistic goal and would not likely be attainable. By setting unrealistic goals, failure becomes expected and when it is excepted, failure becomes acceptable. To prevent this perspective, it is important to set goals that you and your staff can achieve.
The relevance of your goals simply means that the goal that you set is pertinent to the improvement of your life, career or department, and that it is part of your scope. It is wise to set goals in areas that are in your control. Another way to look at relevance is to ask yourself what you “get” for accomplishing a goal? Is there a reasonable return on investment? When there is, there is a much greater chance that you will find the time and resources to achieve your goal. The final step to a SMART goal is to ensure that it is time-oriented. Goals without timelines tend to fail, so deadlines are vital to the success of your goals. It holds you and your team accountable for the timely deliverables and provides basic guardrails that keep you on track.
By creating daily, short-term and long-term goals that are SMART, you will find personal and professional success due to the direction, clarity, focus and satisfaction goals provide. Welcome to the new year, where great things become possible with a SMART goal, a plan, time and discipline.
Ben Lewis, MBA, CHTM, is the associate vice president of support services (SCSS) at HonorHealth.
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