Administrative professional goals - how many do you have this year?

Sometimes goal setting for APs can be tricky because the nature of the role often involves going from project to project in a reactive manner. However, it’s still very possible to set good goals - in fact, it’s an important part of reaching peak performance.

Why and how should administrative professionals set goals? Here’s our take:

Why set administrative professional goals?

Goal setting is important because it helps lay out direction for your life, both at work and at home. They help you to know where you’re going so that you can plan the pathway for getting there (and yes, the plan is just as important as the goal!). Having well-defined goals helps you to prioritize among all the other noise out there.

If you’re up for a performance review, you’ll find that having a clearly defined set of goals helps you to go through the process more easily. Being able to discuss your progress toward goals shows leadership and initiative. It will help you to draw a straight line between objectives, actions and achievement, which is what you want in a performance review!

The process of goal-setting is also very helpful for cultivating focus and taking some control over your career. For example, APs tend to do a bit of everything as part of their job, but goal-setting gives you the opportunity to step back and figure out which areas you want to develop further.

Where to start with goal setting

When we’re talking about goals for your working life, an important place to start is with your company’s overall goals for the year (assuming you want to stay with the company!). If you can align at least some of your professional goals with the objectives of the company, everyone wins.

You as the AP will be highly-regarded for prioritizing company goals, which can only help your career. The company wins because you’re in their corner and helping them reach those goals. Look at KPIs to figure out how you can align with them in the job that you do.

An advantage of aligning with KPIs again comes when you’re up for a performance review. If you’re able to demonstrate exactly how your actions helped to achieve success, you’ll be almost certain to impress. Keep a record of your achievements so that it is easy to present.

A second source of goals can be in conjunction with the executive you work with. How can you each help one another to be successful this year? These might overlap with company goals or KPIs, too.

Another good set of goals to have is your own, work-related objectives. When you look at your overall skills and performance, where do you see room for improvement? Is there a certain type of professional development or certification you’d like to achieve? Do you have aspirations for being promoted and need some extra skills or qualifications under your belt first?

Lastly, consider setting some personal goals too. Goal setting is not just important for your focus, but because it helps to trigger a set of behaviors that help you to keep positive momentum in your life. It’s a form of self-mastery that can be empowering and carry success forward into all areas of your life.

Make SMART goals

You’ve probably heard the expression “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” This highlights what is often wrong with the types of goals people set themselves at the New Year, or any other time when resolutions go out the window. They usually don’t have any plan in place to achieve the goal. They have an idealized, dream state, but that’s about it.

SMART goals are a method of goal setting that helps to ensure you have a better chance of achieving them. Here’s how it goes:

  • Specific. This means that goals should be as clear as possible with no ambiguity around them. A simple example could be something like “I’d like to achieve a black belt in Lean Six Sigma this year.”
  • Measurable. Your goal can be quantified and isn’t subjective. If it’s a black belt, either you achieved it or not. If it’s to boost revenue by at least 15%, success is measured when you hit 15% or more.
  • Achievable. The goal has to be within your scope to achieve. It should be a capability of your skills, knowledge and experience. Lofty goals are great, but they still have to be within the realms of possibility to be effective. If you’ve just picked up running at 40 and you decide a goal is to reach the next Olympics, that’s probably not within the bounds of your capabilities at this stage.
  • Relevant. The goals should be directly relevant for your overall work or personal objectives.
  • Time-bound. The goals should have deadlines or milestones attached to them to help move things along so you don’t have a “never-ending” goal.

For each goal that you’ve identified, flesh it out as a SMART goal and prioritize in order of importance. In keeping with being “realistic,” make sure you don’t have so many goals on your list that it will be an impossible task to achieve them all within your timeframe. Prioritize from the most important.

Break down your plan

You’ve got some SMART goals, but do you have a “how” for achieving them? If a goal is quite large and involves several moving parts, breaking it down into smaller chunks can be your best plan for success.

People who set themselves weight loss goals are a good example. If someone were to say “I need to lose 20lbs by the end of the year,” that sounds like a lot on the face of it. It’s also not a plan in itself. How will they lose the weight? There are many things they could do. For example, they might say “I will walk five miles, a minimum of four days per week.” Or, “I will only eat (pre-defined) healthy breakfasts Sunday through Friday.”

For an administrative professional, a goal might be to help their executive claw back five hours of their work time each week, enabling them to focus on core tasks. Five hours is a lot - how will you do it? A plan might look like: 1) Assess what they do now; 2) Look for the opportunities to delegate or get rid of tasks; 4) Figure out what needs to happen to make delegation possible 4) Execute the delegation; 5) Re-assess - how much time was saved?

Write down your plans so that you are reminded of them and can check regularly against the steps you’ve identified. Another thing about writing them down is that it makes it easier to share them with someone else - a person who might act as an accountability partner so that you stay on-track.

Final thoughts

Goal-setting is a key success factor of the most high-performing administrative professionals. Good goals help to give you focus and forward momentum. They are SMART and have a clear plan for achieving them.

As an administrative professional, being a goal-setter and achiever is a highly desirable trait among employers. The environment that you work in tends to thrive on KPIs and organizational objectives, so goal-setting is welcomed as part of a high-achieving environment.

Are you a goal-setting administrative professional ready for your next great client? Talk to us at Worxbee today about joining our team of high-performing virtual APs.