Archive for category Goal Setting

6 Principles Of Committing To Your Commitment

Achieve Your Goals

Have you ever struggled with accomplishing, getting through, or getting started on something that you wanted to do? Many of us do. Often times we come up with an idea that we’re passionate about or that we know we can do but are hesitant to actually go through with it for fear we may fail or not have the drive or motivation to see it through.

In Ken Blanchard’s latest book, Fit at Last, Ken and fitness authority, Tim Kearin, follow Ken’s personal journey to improve his health and fitness. This quick read applies the battle with getting healthy and losing weight, something many of us can relate to, as an example of how sticking to a goal and making it happen can provide a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and happiness. Whether your goal is to get healthy, like Ken, start a business, or complete a major project at work, these six principles can keep you grounded as you tackle your goal.

Principle 1: Have Compelling Reasons and a Purpose

Figuring out what motivates you to make something a goal in the first place is the first principle that will set the stage to accomplishing your goal. Why do you want to do this? How will the outcome make you feel? What are the benefits that you will realize after this goal is met? If the goal is work related, find out whether or not your goal is aligned with your agency’s goals.

Principle 2: Establish a Mutual Commitment to Success

It’s tough to go it alone on any goal or task. Find someone who you care about, wants to see you succeed, and who can keep you motivated and remind you of why you started on this path in the first place. It is also important that you trust this person and value the feedback and support they can provide to you. Setting a mutual agreement that benefits both parties involved is a great way to not only hold you to your commitment, it also makes you want to accomplish your goal to reap the rewards once you reach your target.

Principle 3: Learn About Situational Leadership® II

Situational Leadership II (SLII) is a model that employs one common language and process for growing great leaders. It is a program that teaches leaders to analyze, diagnose, think, and apply leadership concepts effectively to reach their goals. SLII guides individuals at each developmental level, both business and personal, they encounter in every situation. When you have a clear understanding of your goal, your level of development, and the right leadership or support that helps you accomplish your objective, you increase your commitment, motivation, and productivity toward that task.

Principle 4: Develop Appropriate Goals

Jumping in and tackling a goal without carefully planning out your strategy can lead to burn-out and failure. Take the time to assess the goal and set some action items that will outline how you can accomplish each task. Making your goals SMART can also help you monitor your progress along the way.  Evaluate where you are at certain points so you can have a clear vision of how you are progressing in your goal.

Principle 5: Set up a Support System to Hold You Accountable

It’s inevitable that you’ll struggle at some point on your quest to accomplish your goal. When this occurs, it’s important to have a support system to keep you on track toward success. Whether it be a spouse, friend, or coworker at your agency, establish regular check-ins with this person or group to report on your progress. Again, trust is important here since you need to value the feedback that you receive from your support group in order to actually apply it.

Principle 6: Have Measurable Milestones to Stay Motivated

Anyone can become disengaged if they feel that they are not making progress on a goal or task. Setting specific milestones, big or small, will remind you of each success and how far you’ve come. Setting mini rewards along the way is another way to make your journey fun. Rewarding yourself suddenly turns your hard work into something that doesn’t even feel like work at all.

What other strategies do you use to stick to your goals and commit to your commitments?

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Leading a Team to Perform

TeamThere are few jobs today that allow a person to work autonomously. Certainly in government there are many examples of jobs that are interdependent. Even at its most basic level, the branches of government must work together to pass a bill into law. Teams are important. As important as teamwork is in government and business today, working on a team is not always easy, and leading a team successfully can be downright difficult. When it does work, a successful team can feel like magic and every task is easier to complete.

The important thing about successful teams is that they bring together the strengths of a group to work toward a common goal or purpose. Successful teams often view members as equal and have a leader who is just as comfortable taking the lead as he is to step back and let an expert take the reins at the right time.

No one person is as strong or smart as a team but sometimes things or people get in the way. While the leader is not the most important part of a team, he can make or break that team. The best team I have been a part of had a leader who openly admitted he did not know the best way to meet our shared goal. He was often heard letting anyone who would listen know his team was a group of experts who could handle any job they took on. His humility combined with the steadfast belief in his team mates made him a great colleague. His ability to set reasonable goals, communicate effectively, and keep the team on task made him one of the best leaders I’ve met. He wasn’t the magic that made that particular team work but he flamed the fire and built up every team member so they were free to excel.

Being a great team leader is not about being the best in your field, it is about setting up the team for success. The Ken Blanchard Companies promotes the Perform Model as a way to highlight the important aspects of a high performing team:

Purpose & Values
Relationships & Communication
Optimal Performance
Recognition & Appreciation

With a skilled and knowledgeable team, the leader must only bring them together and help them to move in the right direction. The best question a leader of mine ever asked me is “How can I help you reach your goal?” Team leaders of highly skilled teams are not the stars of the show but facilitators, who get the team in place and cheer the team on throughout the race.

Have you worked on or do you lead a high functioning team? What worked best for you?

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3 Key Elements of an Effective Performance Review

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry positioned his strategy for implementing a more effective performance review process within the Federal Government at the Excellence In Government conference this week.  Berry has referred to the current review process ad “infrequent and rote.”   His vision is to encourage managers to give frequent recognition and praise for good work to keep employees motivated and to ensure an increase in the lines of communication. In addition, the OPM just completed a pilot mentoring initiative in June and plans to implement a mentor program later this year. 

You don't want to save up feedback until somebody fails.

In their new book, Helping People Win At Work, leadership experts Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge support Berry’s sentiments.  Ridge believes that there are three aspects of an effective performance review; planning, execution, and review and learning.  Both Blanchard and Ridge use the analogy of providing students with the final exam and giving them the answers. Managers sit with their direct reports once a year to establish SMART goals and create the employee’s ‘final exam,” they then must coach them throughout the year to support the agreed upon goals and tell them how to accomplish those set goals.  They call this philosophy, “Don’t mark my paper, help me get an A.”  The last aspect, review and learning, helps managers and employees look for any learnings they may have encountered and determine what is working and what isn’t.

The concept of continuous coaching throughout the year has the biggest impact on performance.  While goal-setting provides direction and gets performance started, what keeps performance going and helps achieve the goals is day-to-day coaching.  Unfortunately, this is the step that is missing in most agencies.  Typically, when annual reviews are complete and goals are set, they are filed away until the following year. 

I agree with and support John Berry’s initiative to improve the overall performance process with frequent recognition and praise.  This form of communication is an excellent motivator and builder of trust among mangers and their direct reports.

How often do you communicate with your manager about your performance?

Listen to Garry talk about how the power that managers have is within the people around them.

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Performance Management…Is There Room for Improvement?

When President Obama announced the federal pay freeze late last year, I am sure a lot of private sector employees felt the pain of the federal workers that will be affected by this decision.  Pay cuts and salary freezes have been quite common with the declining economy and many people from both the public and private sector have had to perform the same job for less money. 

All good performance starts with clear goals.

In my last blog, I wrote about ways to incentivize employees to keep them motivated and their morale high, without hurting the already cut budget.  I came across some great ways managers can accomplish this, but how are managers evaluating their direct reports’ performance and providing feedback, good and bad, to direct employees towards success?

An article on assesses the government’s employee performance appraisal process and where there is potential room for improvement.  Are leaders working with their staff to create goals and ways to accomplish those goals?  Are they defining how each individual can contribute to the goals of the organization they work for?  Authors and leadership specialists, Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge, wrote Helping People WIN at WORK with a philosophy called, “Don’t mark my paper, help me get an A” in mind.  The basis of this philosophy is to tell your employees how to accomplish their goals to ensure that they achieve what they set out to do.

The book outlines three aspects of an effective performance review:

Planning – The process starts with both the leader and the direct report agreeing on essential functions that describe the responsibilities of the employee within their job position.

Execution – When everyone is clear on the observable and measureable goals, leaders need to help their team reach their goals by coaching them on a daily basis.   

Review and Learning – It is important to take the time to pause, review progress, and look for learnings – whether mistakes have been made or not.  You don’t want to save up feedback until someone fails.

How do you think the government can improve the employee appraisal process?

Click here to watch a webinar on how to develop an employee performance development process that will create an engaging work environment.

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Telework in Federal Government Study

Government Business Council and TANDBERG recently teamed up to study telework habits, challenges, and best practices in federal government.

Some key findings from the study:

  • Over 90% of respondents cited phone and email as required tools to telework.
  • 95% of respondents reported their home office was the chief location for teleworking.
  • Among respondents who are eligible, the most widely reported reason for not teleworking is an unsupportive manager (45%).
  • 67% of respondents believe that agencies can overcome concerns about supervision by setting clear goals for teleworkers. 

To read the complete study, visit

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Improving Productivity and Performance in Government

A recent survey by McKinsey & Company in partnership with Government Executive magazine discovered that federal employees are highly motivated but accountability is lacking. If employees are motivated but lack accountability, what is going to suffer? Performance and Productivity!

This could be a great opportunity for government.

President Obama and OPM Director John Berry are capitalizing on the highly motivated federal workforce and placing a heavy emphasis on performance management in the public sector.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management defines performance management as:

The systematic process by which an agency involves its employees, as individuals and members of a group, in improving organizational effectiveness in the accomplishment of agency mission and goals.

Employee performance management includes: planning work and setting expectations, continually monitoring performance, developing the capacity to perform, periodically rating performance in a summary fashion, and rewarding good performance.

Performance management has been a topic of interest for Garry Ridge, President and CEO of WD-40 and leadership expert Ken Blanchard. The two paired up to author Helping People Win at Work. This book discusses WD-40’s year-round performance review system: its goals, features, and the cultural changes it requires. Ridge shares his “leadership point of view”: what he expects of people, what they can expect of him, and where his beliefs about leadership and motivation came from. Ken Blanchard explains why WD-40’s Partnering for Performance system works so well—and exactly how to leverage its high-value techniques in any organization.

Blanchard believes an effective performance management system has three parts:

Performance Planning – During this time leaders agree with their direct reports about goals and objectives they should be focusing on.

Performance Coaching – At this stage leaders do everything they can to help direct reports be successful. Managers work for their people, praising progress, and redirecting inappropriate performance.

Performance Review – This is where a manager and direct report sit down and assess the direct report’s performance over time.

Unfortunately, most organizations spend the greatest amount of their time on performance review. In order to positively influence productivity, the focus should be on performance planning and performance coaching. Driving employee passion can have profound effects on performance. 

Where is the focus within your agency’s performance management system? How is performance management being addressed in your agency?

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