Breaking up with SALY (Same As Last Year)

Goals. They keep us moving forward and prevent us from becoming stagnant or falling behind.  Without goals we get busy with other’s priorities and lose sight of our own. We also fall into the trap of doing the same as we’ve done. Your firm has goals, your clients have goals, and you need goals to grow and develop. Your goals should support the needs of your firm as well as your own personal and professional development needs.

When setting goals, they should be challenging but still reachable and realistic. They should not be so easy they read like a To Do List. However, to be successful, you have to be motivated and have a desire for the outcome. To achieve your goals, you have to want it for yourself.

Have you ever been a part of a group or team that worked toward a goal that you didn’t embrace? Depending on the circumstances, you likely went along for the greater good but your heart wasn’t in it. You gave it effort but didn’t give it your all. If it was a goal that you could support, a goal that meant something to you, you would work hard to help achieve it. You have to commit to a goal to achieve it. If you aren’t committed, you will get distracted, you will get off track, and you will not make it a priority which results in a goal not achieved.

Whether you’re going into your busy season or just winding down from it, you’ll be busy this year with client work, professional development, business development and putting out the occasional fire that comes along. So when your annual review, or semi-annual review, comes along and you’re asked to talk about your activities and accomplishments do you draw a blank? Or are you pressured to make up for lost time? 

It is incredibly important to track your work toward achieving your goals. If your firm has a human resources system, enter comments or updates into the system. If that isn’t an option, a Word document or Excel document will work just fine. Also enter a recurring monthly reminder in your calendar to update your progress in the system or in your tracking document. This is undeniably helpful at the 6 or 12 month mark when you’re asked to share your activities and efforts. These notes add depth to your story of goal accomplishment, and small steps at regular intervals make the goal seem like less of a mountain to climb.

Your partners and clients expect you will continually bring energy, ideas and solutions. To do that you have to continually learn and stretch yourself. When your goals are aligned with your firm’s goals, clients’ goals, and your professional development goals, everyone wins.  You also become a valuable part of the firm and your clients’ businesses that no one wants to lose. 

When your firm and your clients value you, it tells you you’re on the right track. When they seek you out, you know you’re doing things right.  That kind of affirmation gives you motivation and makes you WANT to achieve your goals. We all have a desire to achieve and when we do, we’re motivated to do more. Because of this, next year’s goals will not be the same as this year’s. No more SALY.

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Christine Nietzke