On a remote team, each member must be a self-starter. This can make setting professional goals more challenging than in a typical office setting, but no less important.
At RED, we set collective company goals at our quarterly review conferences. Individual team members set their own professional goals based on knowledge gaps they perceive themselves, or suggestions agreed upon during a meeting with their manager.
Setting professional goals: What’s the point?
Setting professional goals for ourselves helps us to always strive to improve our knowledge and skills. In any domain, but particularly in industries that are ever-evolving like web technology, we must continue to improve our skills to stay at the top of our game and provide value to our clients. Setting professional goals relating to our skills, knowledge, or performance helps us take an objective measure of ourselves professionally.
Practically speaking, how do we define a professional goal?
We find the WOOP format useful to make our goals specific and help us achieve them:
- Wish: A measurable objective.
- Outcome: What is the positive result of the goal?
- Obstacle: What could prevent me from reaching my goal?
- Plan: If I hit up against an obstacle, what measures can I take to surmount it?
For example, a front-end developer’s goal might be:
- Wish (measurable) = I wish to complete a CSS Grid course by the end of the month.
- Outcome = I will have a new tool to make layouts a lot easier, and I’ll feel totally cool for being on the cutting edge of front end web dev.
- Obstacle = I might get distracted by shiny objects.
- Plan (if/then) = If I get distracted by shiny objects, I’ll remember that I shared my goal with the RED team and that I don’t want to let them down.
In this goal, the team member mentions her expected rewards. She will gain a new tool in her web-building arsenal, and she will enjoy the feeling of competence this new skill brings. She sets a specific time frame for the goal. She mentions a possible obstacle, distraction, and how she plans to overcome the obstacle through remembering her accountability to the team.Recognizing obstacles that stand in our way, and developing a plan for overcoming them is key in being able to meet our goals. Click To Tweet
Often, team members find this team accountability useful to help them stay on track. Once a team member has a new goal, he or she may choose to post it in our internal professional development blog. Posting it for the rest of the team to see allows other team members to check in on the goal progress and keeps each of us accountable on a regular basis.
Some people find it useful to use a bullet journal, calendar, or planner to track steps they should take to meet their goal. Breaking down a professional goal into smaller steps or tasks, and setting a time to perform those steps, can help you stay focused.
Do you set professional development goals for yourself? What method do you use? What helps keep you accountable?
Share your experiences and suggestions with us in the comments!