I have been working on refining my goals for 2018. My coach challenged me because I had not spent a lot of time defining my goals around “contribution.” When I explained my thinking around it — contribution in my mind was about charity and donating time to your community or to a cause — she said “No. Think about it in terms of what you are contributing to the world. Don’t limit it to a dollar amount.” Wow.
That slight shift in thinking sent my mind racing. Are we all limiting our thinking in this way? Are we shaming ourselves because we aren’t giving large sums of money or sitting on committees for a non-profit?
I also began thinking about how many times my clients get discouraged because they feel that they aren’t doing as much as other around them or that others in their peer group appear to be accomplishing more.
Feeling the pressure of competition is one thing but I wonder if what my clients are really feeling is disconnected. I wonder if, like me, they aren’t seeing their “contribution” clearly.
As I dug into this a little more, I decided to look up what “contribution” actually meant. Webster defines it as “the part played by a person in bringing about a result or helping something advance.” Helping something advance — that is something we can ALL set goals around.
Here are some areas to consider as you define your contribution goals for the year:
Leadership: I once heard someone say that a leader isn’t a leader until they develop a leader who has developed a leader. That has stuck with me for years as I have worked with hundreds of leaders and managers who have struggled to spend time developing their teams.
Look for someone on your team who you believe could benefit from your expertise and make a point of having lunch or coffee with them. Ask them what they would like to learn this year and help them with that goal.
Strategy: Have you held a planning meeting for your leadership team to set goals for the year? Teams who have a voice in the planning process are far more likely to buy into and create momentum around achieving goals. This is one area that I find varies greatly with the farm operations I work with. The operations with cohesive leadership teams all engage in some sort of annual planning.
Personal Development How will you “sharpen the saw” this year? I have found that it is so much easier to help others when I am engaged in learning myself. Setting goals around learning something new or continuing to improve in an area of interest is a great way to contribute to your operation or to others in your organization.
Communication: Improving communication is the one area that we can all benefit from. As we improve or become more aware of our impact on others, I have seen over and over that stress, frustration and disappointment are reduced.
So how could you contribute in this area? Many of my clients begin by scheduling regular meetings with their teams and individual meetings with their leaders. The beginning of the year is a great time to do this! It allows you to connect with everyone before spring arrives and the pace of work begins to speed up. It also gives you a chance to get input from others about concerns, questions or new ideas. These could include new products, innovations or actions that could save time and money.
Regardless of which area you chose, setting goals around contribution can dramatically change the way you think about developing your team, developing yourself and advancing your organization.