I don’t know about you, but looking at my new year to-do list can get overwhelming fast. We have so much on the go and very rarely a unified goal that all of these things are helping us achieve. It can be so easy to write things off as unimportant when we haven’t taken the time to think through why we’re doing them. This year, we’re here to help you navigate that.
I know, I know, telling you to set goals for the new year sounds cliche, but it does help.
New research shows that setting goals and having collective aims for your organization can help boost morale and prevent burnout. Goals allow us to remember why we’re doing the work. This is the key. Remembering your goals and why we’re doing the work helps us refocus and recenter when things get tough. It gets a lot easier to quiet the little voices in our heads, doubting the work we do when we know why we’re doing something. Writing that report is easier if you know it will help improve the quality of life of the people you support.
Goals are also a key piece of getting buy-in. People are way more likely to get on board with your ideas if they know where you’re going. To get buy-in for your project, your goal should align with your organization’s strategic objectives. Showing your boss that you have the same goals as they do can be a very simple way to get them to listen to what you have to say. Next, you need to align your goal with your organization’s strategic objectives, it’s essential to understand what these objectives mean and to who. This means digging into things like the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and other metrics your organization is measuring. These can be pretty straightforward things they track like staff retention, people in their support, visits to the hospital, that kind of thing. These metrics help executives determine if they are meeting their goals. When presenting your ideas, include how they will affect those metrics. If you can connect the dots between your project and the organization’s metrics and goals, it’s bound to be a compelling ask.
All that said, here’s a simple place to start.
Grab yourself a blank piece of paper.
Start by thinking about a year from now. Where would you like to be? How would you like to feel? Don’t worry about how you’ll get there, that’s for later. Take a moment to write about that.
Let’s say next year you want to help the people you support to achieve their goals of becoming more independent. From an organizational perspective, you set the goal of increasing capacity.
The next step is to assess how you would measure that. Think about what matters to the people you support, the ways in which they’d like to grow their independence. Measuring capacity can be pretty simple, how many staff do you have and how many people does your organization support? Can you pull any relevant data that already exists?
These measurement indicators become your Key Performance Indicators. Decide on a regular interval to review and update them. Monthly or bi-weekly is probably a good place to start.
Now, considering where you want to be and where you are, consider how big the changes you’ll have to make are.
More independence for the people you support can mean many different things. Consider what assets the people you support have. What are their greatest strengths, interests, and skills? What do they want for their lives? Close collaboration with the people you support is key for this.
The next step is to create a list of all the different things you could do to help you reach your goals. It’s ok if it’s incomplete! You’ll keep learning as you do the work.
Take that list, and decide what you’d like to start with. As you go, measure your progress with the various strategies.
This means to try one of these strategies and see if and how your KPIs change. It’s trial and error until you find something that works! You don’t need to get there overnight. Incremental improvements make significant differences over time.
Keep at it!
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