Happy New Year, Everyone!

Most of us are back to work, picking up the slack we enjoyed during our holiday break.

Now it’s time to craft or review our goals. Most goals are the centerpiece for the year’s performance management process. The problem with this placement is the “game” that ensues in which we work to set goals that:

  • Target something more than last year’s goal.
  • Envision what we need to do to be competitive, stay on top, or meet expectations.
  • Build on our boss’s goals, in the often diminishing cascading of organizational goals.
  • Set our objectives with the compensation program in mind—wanting to set goals we know we not only can meet, but exceed.
  • Start with what is “realistic.”

We work to make sure our goals are aligned, but achievable. Because, of course, we want to be paid. That’s not necessarily bad, but it is inherently limiting.

This is the year to break out and develop a parallel set of intentions, starting with the question:

“What is the possibility of creating something truly remarkable?”

Remarkable is defined as striking or worthy of attention. We often assign that quality after we have produced an outcome. “Wow, look at what we created? That was remarkable!”

What I’m talking about is breaking out of all those structures and thinking through a picture of the future that would knock-your-socks-off (another way of saying striking or noteworthy). What is either on your plate now or could be that would:

  1. Have a significant impact on a key relationship, project, financial, market, reputation or other result.
  2. Be highly uncertain, requiring you to find the path forward as you create.
  3. Be exciting and fulfilling to achieve, a compelling reason to get up and into work for the day.

Rather than test the goal with the “realistic” ruler, think about possibility. Maybe you have something in mind that would be truly exciting, but it’s a long-shot or so counter to conventional thinking that you don’t want to voice it. Stay with that picture.

Here’s the fun part. You don’t have to tell anyone the ultimate remarkable result you are pursuing. I often tell leaders and teams to keep their remarkable target “in their back-pocket.” No need to draw criticism or lose in the compensation game. Just don’t back away from the possibility of a remarkable outcome.

Today, begin your own thinking by perusing your current goals (whether you are midway in the year or starting fresh), and consider where the possible remarkable results exist. What would be “so exciting” to create?