How You Can Create Alignment Between Your Personal and Professional Lives, and Create a Life Part 2
Alright in the last entry, My One Thing: Creating Alignment in Our Lives, we discussed vision and goal-setting. And, in this entry, we will discuss.
- Creating Objectives
- Creating Priorities
- Creating Next Actions
- Results and Metrics
- A Single System
Of course, both objectives and priorities, must be connected to your goals, and vision, so we’ll also take a look at how to connect them all.
Ready? Good. Here we go.
First, let’s use a goal that is actually part of my work today. A very practical example. Here we go.
- Increase connection, collaboration, and unification of noncredit organizations throughout the state of Oregon within the next 2 years.
Alright, we’ve got a goal set. Now, let’s discuss objectives.
Where goals can be set for long-term planning, and short-term planning, in the context of this conversation we are using a long-term goal.
Our focus then is to go from our long-term goal to day-to-day activities that will connect back to our long-term goal. Creating objectives can help us do that by breaking our goal up into smaller pieces, which we can achieve in a shorter period of time.
Let’s take a look at an objective for our goal.
- Create a noncredit consortium, which includes representatives from each organization that delivers noncredit education throughout the state of Oregon in the next year.
There we go.
Because our goal is to increase connection, collaboration, and unification of noncredit organizations throughout the state of Oregon within the next 2 years, we need an objective that will, well, basically, help us get there.
In this example, creating a consortium within the next year can do just that.
Alright, now we’ve got a 2-year goal, a 1-year objective, now we need some priorities.
Priorities are typically set for a shorter duration of time. They can be set for a day, week, month, and even a quarter. Alright, let’s create some priorities for our objective.
- Priority #1 – Create bylaws for the non credit consortium in quarter 3
- Priority #2 – Create a leadership structure for the noncredit consortium in quarter 4.
It is possible in this example, that both of these priorities can be achieved within quarter 3, however, to illustrate the example, I’ve chosen to spread them out.
The important point is that we now have a goal, objective, and priorities that are all connected. And, they all have timeframes allocated to them, so we know if we are on or off track. Important.
Once priorities are created, it is time to create next actions.
Creating Next Actions
Creating next actions, or action items, or next steps, is really about identifying the work that needs to be accomplished to meet your priorities, which then means, yep, that you are meeting your objective, and moving closer to attaining your goal.
Let’s create some next actions.
- Identify bylaws needed and begin to create them in the January meeting.
- Identify 2 or 3 committee members that will continue to work on the bylaws in between the January and February meeting.
- Create agreement and alignment on the bylaw next actions, which are due by the February meeting.
There we go.
Now, you’ll notice that I did not create the next actions for priority number 2. The reason this is so, is that that priority is for quarter 4, and, as we complete the next actions to meet the number 1 priority, we will learn more.
Meaning, that the second priority might shift a little by the time we get to the end of quarter 3. Normal.
Recapping, we now have a 2-year goal, 1-year objective, a priority for quarter 3 with next actions, and a priority for quarter 4 with next actions still to be identified.
Before we get to the system part of our conversation, which, of course, is one of my favorite topics, let’s discuss results and metrics a little.
Results and Metrics
It’s important in all goal-setting activities, personal and professional, to identify a way to measure progress. The measurement can be quantitative or qualitative. Both are needed and necessary.
In our conversational example about the noncredit consortium, we can create a couple of ways to measure our progress. First let’s reset the goal. Here it is.
- Goal – Increase connection, collaboration, and unification of noncredit organizations throughout the state of Oregon within the next 2 years.
Now, let’s set a result and a metric.
- Result – Increased service to all communities as an outcome of increased collaboration between the noncredit organizations.
- Metic – Total service numbers by organization.
We can even take a deeper dive with this result, by creating actually percent increases we expect, such as:
- Result – Service numbers increase by 10% in year 2.
- Metric – Total service numbers by organization.
Once you have your results and metrics, we need to think about how to gather the data to measure the metric. In this example, we would utilize the systems the various organizations use to gather their student service data.
Alright, we’ve now covered goals, objectives, priorities, next actions, and results and metrics. Let’s now take a look at how these components work together to create a single system.
A Single System
As you all know, I love white boards. And, yes, I’ve created two simple white boards to help us visualize the linear information provided in this post. Here we go.
In this first white board we can see I’ve used a relationship ecological system to display the connection between the self, team, organization, and community, and a vision, goals, objectives, priorities, and next actions.
They function the same way.
As we develop as a leader, we take in information from the team, organization, and community, and we give information back out the same way. It’s completely reciprocal and, well, quite lovely.
Similarly, when we create a vision, and set goals, objectives, priorities, and next actions, they inform each other. For instance, the vision informs the goals, objectives, priorities, and next actions. Just as our next actions will inform our upcoming priorities, objectives, goals, and the vision, as needed.
Okay, one more visual. Here we go.
In this simple illustration, we can see a similar pattern. The vision is the anchor, as the self is in a relationship system, and informs our goals, objectives, priorities, and next actions, which, in turn, informs our upcoming goals.
Wow, that was fun.
That concludes the second and last installment in My One Thing: Creating Alignment In Our Lives.
You can use these tools in your personal life, just as you can at work. The most important thing is to create a vision for your future self; and; to work towards the realization of that self by taking actions each day that align with the self you see yourself becoming.
Remember, you are the only one that can make that future self a reality.