Goal Setting for EQ Projects
All human activities have a goal — conscious or not. When working as a team of different personalities and with different needs, the importance of a goal must never be underestimated. Maybe it is even more important to non-profit work, which is totally based on the motivation of those involved, a motivation strongly connected to the cause of the work. Therefore, every start of a new project must involve time spent on defining goals. To strengthen the projects energy, meaning the motivation of its people, encourage people to make up their own goals for their work in the project. First, start with the overall compelling vision that guides your shared work.
We all dream of the future of our lives, or of our family and friends. We picture a life where the less good parts in our recent life are gone. And maybe we have woken up with a determination to do something about it. Changing life isn’t easy, but when the troubles pile up we might have thought about that dream and gained energy to keep on trying. This “working toward a dream” is the experience of the power of a vision: they keep inspiring us even after the period when everything is new and exiting. And as all projects grow mature and fall into some less inspiring phase of routine, a vision is important. Some advice from Ben Zander when formulating a vision:
A vision articulates a possibility.
A vision fulfills a desire fundamental to humankind, a desire for with which any human being can resonate. It is an idea to which no one could logically respond, What about me?
A vision makes no reference to morality and ethics.
A vision is stated as a picture for all time, using no numbers, measures or comparatives. It contains no specifics of time, place, audience, or product.
A vision is a long line of possibility.
Speaking a vision transform the speaker.
From Vision to Action
It is valuable to distinguish between vision, goals and objectives.
A vision is a compelling idea, some people call this a “noble goal.”
Goals are the sub-parts of the vision, or strategies, that will make it come alive.
Objectives are action steps, or tactics, that lead toward meeting the goals and creating the vision.
The goal of this goal setting is to connect the grand to the mundane. Our daily actions should lead toward a vision, and our vision should be turned into daily actions.
So, once you have a vision, you will need to set goals and objectives. There are two common mistakes in this kind of planning:
- Jumping to objectives. People often will talk about what they are planning to do before they are clear where they want it to lead.
- Leaving out objectives: Other people will hold onto the vision or the large goals and say, “We’ll just work on this” without a plan of getting from here to there.
How will you know if you have reached a goal? What will success look like? How will you measure that? If you can articulate the result of the goal — what it looks like — then you will have an easier time developing objectives.
SMART Goals and Objectives
The worst goal possible is the one that is never reached. The feeling of failure doesn’t contribute to the energy level in the project team in a positive way. So make goals that are concrete, and break down a goal into a series of specific objectives — and make them SMART:
Specific — easy to understand and concrete. Not “Get better at speaking,” but “Get better at introducing EQ.”
Measurable — make it clear if it is done. Not, “Get better at introducing EQ,” but, “Able to convince 3 people about the importance of EQ.”
Actionable — make sure there is something to DO. Not, “Able to convince 3 people about the importance of EQ,” but, “Schedule and hold six meetings and convince people about the importance of EQ.”
Realistic — assess if this is within reality — a stretch. Not, “Schedule and hold six meetings and convince people about the importance of EQ,” but, “Schedule and hold six meetings to convince at least three people about the importance of EQ.”
Timely — be clear by what date will it be done, or how much time will be invested each day or week? Not, “Schedule and hold six meetings to convince at least three people about the importance of EQ,” but, “Schedule and hold six meetings to convince at least three people about the importance of EQ in the next month.”
It is also critically important to know who is responsible for the objective!
When working with personal development, it can be difficult to know how to measure the development of those involved. Emotional intelligence has great impact on the way people treat each other, but as a ever-present leader it is difficult to see the gradual change. One way to measure could be to have someone from outside the organisation to watch sessions at different occasions and by doing so try to experience the social climate in the group. Asking the participants in private small talks can also give guidance to the present group status.
Break It Down…
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” they say. That’s probably true and applied to project management you could express it like this: break down a big project to smaller and more manageable sub-projects. This is actually a skill typical to people with high emotional intelligence, and the only way to manage the really Big Things.
…And Then Delegate
Few projects are of the nature that its parts can’t be unfolded simultaneously at times. Use this and organize the team in a way so that several goals are approached at the same time. For the project manager this means two things: let go of details and trust your subordinates. Every single task can be solved in multiple ways so there is no use in sticking your nose into everybody’s sub projects, they will deal with it in their own way. Until the opposite is proved, give them the trust and do your part of the job: keep the oversight and make sure that the team benefits from every synergy effect possible.
A project can be much more than just a way to meet a need in your community. It can also be a journey for those involved in its unfolding. By setting your personal goals you make sure to develop through the project. At the same time you broaden your base for motivation: if the main project looses momentum there is something there to keep your energy constant.
To support the growth of trust within the team, you could choose a goal which includes learning from another team member who’s already good at something you wish to learn, for example setting up a budget, writing press releases or computer skills. To be asked to be someone’s mentor is a great feeling and contributes to a high level of trust and honesty in the team.
Keep the Goals Alive!
To drastically simplify a CEO’s job, you can say that he or she constantly repeats the goal and vision for the organisation so that the employees never loose track. Words have a strong power to focus our minds so keep on talking of your goal and vision. As soon as they are forgotten they are useless.
If you are creating a community emotional intelligence project, perhaps your goals and objective might look something like this:
An emotionally intelligent community where children and adults grow to do and be our best.
Goal: The EQ Project will have a leadership team that is working collaboratively with people and organizations in the community.
By April 15, Bob will have written an invitation that synthesizes the feedback from the group.
By May 2, 20 people will have said they will come to a meeting to introduce the idea, each of us will be responsible for getting four people to say yes.
Goal: We will write a specific action plan for year two, including a detailed budget that is balanced.
Goal: A pilot group with 25 people will complete initial training.
Goal: We will publish a “state of the community” report with EQ indicators.
Goal: A pilot group of 150 people will increase their EQ and share the results of the experience.
Goal: The “State of the Community” report will include contributions from six other community groups and organizations, including the Mayor’s office.
Goals can hardly be too small as long as they motivate you. It is up to you and your group to define goals that let you stretch — and not break.