At ObjectiveManager we know that while setting objectives can be hard, actually achieving them is the real challenge.
We’ve all worked in law firms and understand that when you’re short on time, doing things right now often trumps doing things right. But if you aren’t heading in the right direction, it doesn’t matter how fast you’re moving.
- First, objectives are a necessity, not a luxury. For a firm to succeed there has to be a clear strategic plan in place, which includes its people achieving their personal objectives.
- Second, working towards your objectives will make you more efficient because objectives are there to keep you focused on the right things and avoid distractions.
Here are five steps to help you achieve your objectives.
1. Make them measurable
You’re likely familiar with SMART goal setting, but if you focus on just one thing then make your objectives measurable. If you don’t define success, it’s almost impossible to make progress.
Example: ‘Win three new Middle East clients in the Aerospace Sector, each generating new revenue of £50,000 per annum.’
2. Break objectives into tasks
Objectives are big, often year-long goals so it helps to break them down into manageable tasks. Think through the individual steps you need to take to achieve your objectives and create a workable action plan.
For the above example, a key task might be to plan a trip to the Middle East for the end of September, aiming for meetings with at least four potential clients.
3. Review your progress
Simply assessing performance against your objectives at the end of the year is no good. If you haven’t achieved them then you have missed the opportunity to change your tactics earlier in the year. Getting guidance sooner could have helped you stay on track.
On the flip side, if you have achieved your objectives then you’ve missed the opportunity to achieve more. Discuss your progress with others regularly and make changes where necessary to ensure that you continue in the right direction.
4. Make your objectives transparent
Transparency ensures accountability, not only to yourself and your reviewer, but also to the rest of the firm. This will make you more likely to remain focused and, more importantly, it will foster collaboration. Others can only help you reach your goals if they know what you’re trying to achieve..
Sharing information benefits everyone and there are real rewards for breaking away from the silo mentality. You don’t know what you don’t know, so it’s important to openly share with others to gain valuable information about client connections, work opportunities and pitfalls to avoid.
5. Keep your objectives alive
‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is a common saying but it’s never more true than with performance objectives. Simply writing your objectives down in any static format is only of limited value because you can’t track your progress against them. Without a constant reminder and attention, you are less likely to succeed.
Keep your objectives front of mind and work on them day after day, tracking your progress in real time. The easiest way to do this is with an online system where you can enter your objectives, come back to them when you need to and log your progress towards achieving them. When you can see how far you’ve progressed it’s easier to keep going.
Nobody said it was easy
Achieving your objectives will not happen overnight but with guidance and regular support it should happen naturally over time. It certainly won’t be easy and, in fact, it shouldn’t be. Objectives should challenge you – and the firm – to achieve more.
Setting objectives and establishing the discipline to use them as a guide requires an upfront investment, but over time it will produce a higher return, for you and for your firm.
At ObjectiveManager, we have developed goal-setting software to help professional services firms and their people define strategy and improve performance through continuous feedback to power growth.
By simplifying the way firms conduct the entirety of their strategic planning from Sector/Client progammes to Partner Remuneration, we help them improve collaboration and optimise conditions for growth. Our innovative software turns individual gains into big business impact by making individual and firm-wide objectives visible, constant and actionable.