How many New Year’s resolutions have you made that weren’t smart? For that matter, how many have you made that you can even remember? Outside of my ones about a boyfriend and more exercise, not only do I not remember mine, I clearly don’t keep them. (Or I would still be relishing my successes.)
That’s about to change.
This year, as the ball is lowering in Times Square and you’re filling your glass with champagne, turn to the dearest person in your life and say, “Let’s toast to my New Year’s Resolution. I’m going to have a recognized brand by this time next year.”
Let me know your Significant Other’s reaction.
A brand quiz
Let’s do a quick association test. Say the first word that comes into your mind when you see these company names:
You raced right through the first four, didn’t you? Safety, performance, truck (okay, that’s where my brain goes), and failure are reputations that the companies have worked hard to associate with their products, even the “failure” one with Edsel. Do you pass an association test? Does a key word or reputation pop out of your mouth when you’re looking at “you” on the list?
Now’s the perfect time
What key word would you like to be associated with by this time next year? You can pick out a “soft” identify (leader, communicator, team builder) or a hard one (financial analyst, software coder, bi-lingual). The act of picking one is the important part. Not to worry. You have 2012 to build on, deepen, or change what you began in 2011, but now is the time to get started. Waiting for the perfect idea to come along can freeze you into inaction, so just pick one…now!
Poof! You just got SMART
So you’ve chosen your goal for 2011…to have a clearer reputation as a leader by the end of the year, let’s say. Bravo. Now, how do we make it SMART?
George Doran introduced SMART goals in 1981 in The Management Review as a way to make things happen. Goals like, “I’d like to be a better leader” are New Year’s Failures because they’re too vague. Meet his five requirements for your own brand goal and you’ll reverse any vagueness that may have plagued you by the next time you wear party hats and make champagne toasts.
A SMART Goal is:
R: Relevant, Results-focused
Making your brand SMART
How could you convert your goal to be known as a leader into a SMART goal?
“I’ll volunteer to lead the integration project that starts in February and have positive evaluations by my team on leadership skills using a 360 assessment. We’ll have the IT, financial, and human resource consolidation plans agreed upon by Q4.”
You couldn’t get much SMARTer than that. Do you see all five parts of the SMART goal definition coming into play? Can you imagine what pulling that off will do for your brand as a leader?
Pick something big and hairy
You don’t need to be timid and shoot too low with the goal you’re going to pick to demonstrate your brand. Leading the company picnic isn’t going to get you the bonus points that you need to advance your career and paycheck. As long as you meet the SMART goals test, you’re not going to choose a goal that isn’t “Attainable.” Be “Audacious.”
After all, you have a whole year to do it.
Let’s meet same time, same place, next year and compare notes. You’re going to be easy to find because your brand will be glowing.
Pam Lassiter is author of the award winning The New Job Security and Principal of www.lassiterconsulting.com, a career coaching firm doing outplacement or internal growth programs for companies or individuals.