Just as you have set S.M.A.R.T. performance goals to align with those of your organization, it is important to identify personal goals that will enhance and further your career development. Start by identifying six goals. While this may sound overwhelming, it really isn't. Once you have identified six goals, list two on this year's performance appraisal form. List the other four on a separate sheet of paper. Strive to complete one of these goals each quarter. These goals do not have to be complicated. If you are struggling to identify goals, here are 7 suggestions to get you started on thinking about how to sharpen your saw:
- Develop two strategic relationships outside of your department.
- Benefit: Developing strategic relationships within your organization expands your internal network, and helps you keep abreast of what may impact your department. It may also keep you top of mind when special assignments or cross-functional projects arise.
- Review the information that was shared with you during your feedforward exercise.
- Benefit: Incorporating and working on the suggestions shows that you took the information seriously. It also opens the doors for future sharing of observations which will help you further develop.
- Learn a foreign language.
- Benefit: This skill can help position you to work on an overseas assignment.
- Join a professional association for your industry, and attend the meetings.
- Benefit: Most organizations have guest speakers who present on hot topics. In addition, you will meet other members and expand your external network and resources.
- Earn a certificate.
- Benefit: You can earn a certificate in a fraction of the time it would take to earn a degree. You will learn the latest information while earning your certificate.
- Join Toasmasters.
- Benefit: Improving your speaking and presentation skills will help you feel more confident and polished when presenting to senior management.
- Improve your computer skills by either learning the advanced functions of the software you currently use, or learning a new software package.
- Benefit: Learning advanced functions, shortcuts, and other software can help you work more efficiently.
When setting performance goals it is easy to forget about your own professional development. Your career development is up to you. Don't wait for someone else to set the direction. Take action yourself!