While getting a paycheck is the reason many of us work, following our passions and goals is also a big part of life. Preparing for the next career move is important, and in this series we’ll be talking about the 10 habits that top performers cultivate in order to move up the ladder on their terms.
Let’s talk about the first habit that great performers need to master for a successful career.
Developing North Star Objectives
Visualize North Star Objectives
Clear objectives and goals are the indicator of a strong leader. Companies want to be assured that you are capable of developing a plan and sticking to it. Creating a set of goals and executing the plan to accomplish them is a sign of a top performer.
Start out with the basics. What is your vision of success as a leader? What’s your purpose in your current position – your vision of your future?
North Star Objectives are long-term ambitious goals intended to motivate, inspire, and uplift you. These objectives are so big that you need to spend time every day working toward them.
According to Prasad Kaipa in the Harvard Business Review, “North Stars align our energy, emotions, and actions in the service of our vision. Though it is not always simple to find one’s North Star, once it appears, its guidance helps simplify one’s choices.”
You may have North Star objectives for different aspects of your life.
- “I will become a highly sought-after, well-respected leader that develops highly productive, committed teams.”
- “The next company I join will align with my values and priorities, both socially and professionally.”
- “I will become one of the top merger and acquisition professional in Denver by 2025.”
- “I will triple the amount of referrals generated by my network within the next 3 years.”
- “I will master my golf game and improve my handicap to a 5 by 2022.”
Notice that the statements don’t detail how the goal is reached. The steps to reaching the objective is the day-to-day work.
You know you’ve got the right North Star objective when thinking of accomplishing your goal feels exciting and you’re motivated to work toward it every single day.
Use Goal Tests
Goal tests are specific, easy-to-understand and easy-to-measure with just a “yes” or “no”.
Develop goal tests to help you move forward toward your objectives. Make the tests easy to understand and to measure.
For example: “This week, I spent at least four hours in dedicated time, contacting at least 10 members of my network to find ways to be of assistance or promote my search or business.”
Review your goal tests once per week. For most people, a week is a good gauge. If you need more frequent check-ins with your goals, once per day works as well.
An accountability partner is a coach, a friend, a team member who commits to consistently lend an ear and give you a reason to ensure tasks are completed – because you told them you would complete it.
Find an accountability partner that holds you to your tasks and does not let you off the hook easily. Set up periodic meeting times that are untouchable in your calendar barring death or destruction.
A good accountability partner is:
- A good communicator
- Listens to understand
- Is focused on the goal
For many, the thought of letting down your accountability partner is far more incentive to stay on track than letting ourselves down.
To help keep in touch with your contact regularly, be sure to download CareerConX. This app is designed to make connecting with your network much quicker and easier. Click CareerConX for more information.