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Write Your Way to Your Goals

Smart ways to put objectives on paper

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in Workplace Communication

You know the importance of setting goals. But does that awareness translate into action?

While most people appreciate the value of having goals, only a handful of top managers actually apply the technique of putting things on paper. Others might shrug and admit that’s a good idea—and then blow it off.

Writing down what you want to achieve is the key to goal setting. Here’s how:

Choose lively verbs. In describing what you want, pick the most compelling words to direct your efforts. Inserting the proper action word can inject energy into your goal and heighten its appeal.

Example: Rather than writing, “Get my staff to meet the deadline,” replace get—a dead verb—with rally, encourage or motivate. These words also will prod you to consider how you’ll rally the staff.

Compose in drafts. There’s no rule that says you must write a perfectly worded goal on your first try. It’s okay to keep modifying what you want by crossing out words and testing new ones.

Don’t discard the scratch paper in which you fiddle around with defining your goal. It can serve as a personal flowchart that helps you see the evolution of your thoughts as you settle on an objective. It can also make you feel more committed to your goal if you appreciate the care that went into it.

Nail it down. Describe what you want in specific terms. If you’re selling office supplies, for instance, it’s better to direct yourself to “Win over 10 decision-makers who buy equipment” rather than “prospect for new business.”

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