Goal Setting Guidelines


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Goal Setting Guidelines

These are the simple three goal setting guidelines (on steroids) that will tremendously help you reach your goals, on a consistent basis …

But before I tell you what they are and how to use them, please allow me to ask you one simple question …

Is goal-setting part of your life?

Or are you like the average person that comes up with New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of every single year—and then slowly and gradually forgets about them as the year progresses?

Let me give you a couple of facts …


Harvard University conducted a study between 1976 and 1986 (1):

In 1976 the University asked graduates from their MBA program if they had written down their goals—and if they had plans for reaching them.

Only 3% of respondents had written their goals and had plans to reach them. 13% had goals—but they hadn’t written them down. And 84% had no specific goals at all – other than enjoying the summer.

Ten years later – in 1986 – the University interviewed the same members of that class again – and they discovered the following:

The 13% of graduates who had goals but hadn’t written them down – were making in average twice as much as the 84% of graduates who didn’t have goals at all.

And the 3% of graduates who had written goals when they left Harvard – were making in average ten times more than the other 97% together.


In early 2000 the Conference Board (2) conducted a survey for the Association for Talent Development (formerly known as the American Society for Training and Development) and as a result of that study, the Conference Board determined—among other findings—that one of the primary causes of low performance on the job is lack of clear individual goals.

Do you see the relationship between goal setting and success, and the relationship between poorly communicated goals and low performance?

You have business goals, don’t you? But, are you clearly communicating them to your employees?

Do you also have personal goals? By personal goals I mean your health goals, your relationship goals, your financial goals, etc.

Your personal goals are just as important as your business goals, aren’t they?

Goals give you a sense of purpose—they develop your competencies, your trust in yourself, and they increase your motivation. They help you grow and mature.

Happiness is closely related to the continuous attainment of goals. You are happy when you walk on the path that you REALLY want.

To live a life without goals—BOTH personal and professional—is like living a life without direction.

Some of the reasons why people don’t set goals is because they think goals are not important, they are afraid to fail, they don’t know how to set them, etc.

Effective goal setting is a leadership tool.

To set effective personal and business goals, you only want to follow THREE simple goal setting guidelines …




Your first goal setting guideline is this:

Make your goals “explicit”

In other words, don’t make your goals “implicit” only, like most people do.

Implicit goals are those goals that are inside your head, you know about them and you know exactly what it is you want to accomplish.

Explicit goals are inside your head too, but ALSO, making your goals explicit means that you clearly write them down, and/or you depict them visually too, with drawings and/or with pictures.

AND you want to place your goals on a place where you easily "see" them every day.

Which goal setting do you think is much more likely to help you reach your goals on a consistent basis, your goals that are inside your head only, or your goals that you clearly "see" on a daily basis too?

Making your goal setting explicit helps you increase your commitment!


Your second goal setting guideline is this:

Make your goals “public”

In other words, don’t make your goals “private” only, like most people do.

Private goals are those goals that ONLY you know about.

Public goals are those goals that “everybody” knows about.

However, making your goals public doesn’t mean publishing them on the newspaper, on TV, or on Social Media for the world to see.

Making your goals public means that you tell people about them—people who are important to you and/or you care about.

In the case of your personal goal setting, tell to your family and friends—not everybody—but just those individuals you think it is pertinent.

In the case of your work-related goal setting, tell your boss, your direct reports, your clients—not everybody—but just those people you think it is relevant.

Again, which goal setting do you think you is much more likely to help you reach your goals on a consistent basis, your goals that you only know about, or your goals that the world knows about?

Making your goal setting public helps you increase your accountability.


Your third goal setting guideline is this:

Make your goals “SMART”

Here I explain to you exactly how to make your goals SMART.


If you set goals for your direct reports, and you want to be positive their goals are comprehensive and strategic, please click here to follow an exhaustive employee goal setting process.



Year after year after year … “New Year’s Resolutions” might end up becoming wishful thinking—again and again and again …

But following these three simple goal setting guidelines will help you tremendously in reaching your goals on a consistent basis, to walk purposefully, and on the right direction.

IF you really want to exceed your expectations …

  1. Make your goals Explicit
  2. Make your goals Public
  3. Make your goals SMART

On a different note, goal setting is a critical competence to support and align your direct reports. To learn three competencies to help you improve the performance of your direct reports, get your FREE Personal Leadership Development Plan.

This Plan will teach you three must-have practical tools that will improve the overall quality of your leadership. Check them out right here


(1) Mark H. McCormack: "What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School" (Bantam Books, New York, NY: 1986)

(2) www.Conference-Board.org