Reaching your year-end goals
Magna cum laude - that was my goal for graduation
from undergraduate school. Magna cum laude
was an academic distinction earned with a
cumulative 3.8 grade point average. A 3.9
would earn you summa cum laude, but a C and
even a D+ in my freshman year made that impossible.
If I did everything correctly and earned almost
entirely A's in my junior and senior year,
I would graduate magna cum laude.
To motivate and remind myself, I made a large
sign for my bedroom. MAGNA CUM LAUDE in bright
neon blue hung above my desk and glowed in
the lamp light during my late-night study
sessions. Half way through my junior year,
after a 21-credit-hour semester in which I
earned six A's and a C+, I did some math and
realized that magna cum laude simply wasn't
going to be possible. The C+ had mathematically
eliminated me. My magna cum laude sign stared
down at me as I scratched out the numbers.
I could take down the sign and excuse myself
for missing my goal OR I could readjust my
goals and charge on. I did some more math,
and learned that if I closed out my college
career with no more than two Bs, I could earn
a 3.7, which was a cum laude distinction.
I put away the calculator and pulled out my
scissors. Before long, a CUM LAUDE sign hung
above desk. I still had a goal to guide and
drive me, and just as important, it was attainable.
The summer is a good time to look at the
sign hanging figuratively over your desk.
Even if you didn't go through a resolution
exercise at the beginning of the year, you
likely had an idea of how you would like 2012
to end. Are you on track to hit your goals?
Have you evaluated your goals and determined
what you would need to do to achieve them
by the end of the year? Are your goals still
In my company, I personally review with each
employee his or her performance every quarter.
Years of doing this have given us solid metrics
that allow us to link activity with productivity.
I know what each employee must do every day
to reach the goals we mutually set. Measuring
this activity and evaluating its impact on
measurable results gives our employees a clear
path to success. Even more, it allows them
to easily identify corrections to their current
path, before it is too late.
Too often, we wait until it is too late to
make adjustments that would allow us to achieve
our goals. We might sense that something is
wrong - that our performance and effort aren't
what they need to be - but we don't have the
courage to face these shortcomings. The courage
to address shortcomings is one of the most
important traits of a successful person, but
very few people ever master it. It's much
easier to celebrate successes than it is to
own up to failures, but when we try to convince
ourselves that everything is good, although
we suspect the opposite might be true, we
stifle progress toward our goals. Only through
consistent, courageous self-assessment can
we give ourselves an above-average chance
of reaching our goals.
Of course, self-assessment isn't always painful.
Sometimes, these assessments will show that
we are actually out-performing our expectations
and that our goals are more attainable than
we realized. Use these positive discoveries
as motivation to charge ahead and consider
making your goals even larger.
Before the summer is over, take the time
and find the courage to evaluate the progress
you are making toward your goals. Make sure
that your goals are still attainable, and
that you are on the path toward attaining
them. If not, adjust now, before your goal
slides out of your reach.