Recently working with one leader who was coasting along with little new direction, raised some gigantic red flags for me. There was little excitement in his voice and even less energy in how he described his daily routine . As I tried to process what was going through his mind I kept thinking: Aren’t you bored with the daily rut you seem to be in? When was the last time you tried something new at work or in your personal life? What is preventing you from leaving your comfort zone? What would get your juices running and bring you joy and learning? It seemed to me that what this young leader needed , besides a kick in the butt, was to look beyond his current work responsibilities and commit to stepping out of his cave . He needed to think carefully how he wanted to move his career trajectory along. He desperately needed a stretch goal.
Here are five ways to ask for a stretch goal and land it:
1. Acknowledge You Are Stuck
The young leader I spoke about didn’t have a clue he was running on a hamster wheel
without stopping to come up for air. Day in and out he was continuing to do the same things and burning out little by little. He needed some new pieces in his job to challenge his mind and skills, yet was unaware of how tired and routinized his work situation had become. If anyone begins to feel a high degree of boredom or lack of excitement in their career or job-STOP! Before tackling a stretch goal leaders need to acknowledge they are stuck but deserve to move forward.
2. Decide With Clarity Where You Want To Go
Once we can be honest with ourselves that we are no longer growing in our job situation we are ready to clear our mind and think of ways we want to propel forward. Have fun with this step but in the end each of us must be clear on what we want our next crossroad to be. Ask yourself: What parts of my job do I like doing and want to continue doing? Which tasks are so old and routinized that I need to let them go? If I could create a new job description for myself what would it look like? Are there any questions I can’t answer right now? If yes, then write them out on a parking lot list.
3. Design A Reasonable Stretch Goal With Oomph
Just like with any other goal, it is so important to be SMART
. Make sure to be specific and descriptive of what you want to do and add ways to measure it so you know when you have succeeded. Stretch the goal enough so that it will empower you to learn new skills and knowledge in areas that are fascinating to you. List out the steps you will take to achieve the goal and timeframes. You are now on your way.Related: 5 Relationship Blockers for Leaders
4. Ask For It With Intent
Now comes the “ask”.
This is sometimes where leaders falter but if we are prepared we will be victorious. Write out the stretch goal clearly and keep it front and center. Know your steps to meet the goal by going over them several times. Present your goal with confidence , explaining how it will contribute to not only your growth but the team’s growth as well. Stay focused, poised and positive. Be prepared for questions or concerns others may have. Anticipate. State your stretch goal in a tone of “yes I can do this”! When asking for a stretch goal be intentional and display confidence.
5. Follow It Through Even If Things Get Tough
The final part of landing a stretch goal and achieving it is making sure to stay the course even when you run into difficulty. Rely on trusted colleagues or bosses
to go to for advice. Keep everyone updated on your progress. Believe you can and you will be successful in asking for the stretch goal and meeting it with great success. How have you asked for a stretch goal and landed it?