Personal Goal Setting
Ask questions of yourself!
Ask questions of yourself!
For managers, personal goal setting is just as important as setting organisational goals, but how many of us give it the time it deserves? How many managers apply their professional expertise to managing their own personal development?
Our article: Success Maker includes some useful tips on personal and career development. Here we build on this advice by asking you to pose some questions. We often talk about things that “asked questions of us”. By that we usually mean something that stretched or tested us. In this article we give you some questions which will hopefully do just that. Testing and stretching your thinking about your own development is an essential tool for effective personal goal setting.
In our article: Best Management Tools, we quoted Kipling’s famous “The Serving Men”:
I keep six honest serving men,
They taught me all I knew,
Their names are What and Why and When,
And How And Where And Who.
These words are just as effective in personal and career development as they are in any other management activity. However, personal goal setting is not an easy process. Below you’ll find a detailed checklist with numerous questions based on each of Kipling’s “serving men”. First though, you might find it useful to ask yourself some simple questions to address some complex issues. Start by asking just one question in each category. This will start your personal goal setting by addressing the basics – getting to know yourself a little better.
The final question: “who am I?”, can be especially difficult. It’s tempting to respond with a “what” answer, describing yourself in terms of what you do, such as your job, your role in society, your family responsibilities, etc. Try to use this as a question which allows you to better understand yourself. Who you are is an amalgam of genes, values, beliefs, desires, needs, experiences, education and abilities.
Discovering as much as possible about yourself is not a trivial or easy matter, but it’s nonetheless a crucial one. Start your personal goal setting by getting to know yourself better. If you’ve answered these questions fully, you’ll have started to create a list of things you want or need to do. Take some time to capture those thoughts and ideas. Write down your answers to these six questions as the basis for your personal goal setting.
Once you’ve a better idea of “who” you are, it’s time to ask some questions about where you are, where you’d like to be, and how you can get there. Set some time aside to study the more detailed checklist below.
The checklist is a useful questioning technique, adapted from our problem solving activity. It’s based on the principle of asking the right questions in the right way. A structured way. Questions are perhaps the best management tools at your disposal.
This personal goal setting checklist uses the “pecking order” of questions with the more powerful questions (why, how and what) asked first, followed by the less, but perhaps more specific questions (who, where and when)
These questions may be just a starting point and you may wish to personalize the tool by adding your own specific questions. The important thing is that you ask the right questions. The questions in this personal goal setting tool will help you do just that.
For a more detailed discussion of the questions in this tool, read Goal Setting Activity – 5 steps to self-development at work.
You can also find our more about the benefits of goal setting in our e-guide: SMART Goals, SHARP Goals to help you do just this. The guide contains 30 pages and 5 tools to help you to set SMART goals, then take SHARP action to achieve them.
Tool 1: Conventional goal setting
Tool 2: Setting SMART goals that motivate
Tool 3: The kind of goals that will make you happier
Tool 4: Taking SHARP action
Tool 5: Team goals flowchart
Tool 6: Eight personal goal setting questions
Try our great value e-guides