Setting goals for 2016

David Gee

What do you want to accomplish this year – and in 2017?

As we return from our holidays and shake off the last remnant of our holiday break, we have to face the fact that this is now a new year and naturally personal goals should be adjusted for 2016.

We are seemingly on a precipice of a GFC 2, but while I hope that this doesn’t happen we have to be wary that we will be running into headwind during the coming year.

What are the key questions you should ask yourself?

My list of goals

Any list of goals has to strike an appropriate balance. Ask yourself: What are my longer term goals for 2017 – is it to change careers and move into a completely new area?

Such a goal would mean using 2016 as a time to reflect and position myself for that move.

What will be the key achievement I want to be able to deliver that will enable such a move?Does this achievement have enough tangibility and value that will be sufficient or have I overestimated what others care about this?

As a leader, it is important that you go to print on these goals and share with your boss, peers and staff – so that there is 100 per cent alignment on this being real.Without taking this step then it is less likely to achieve the end outcomes that you seek.

My stretch goal

The important thing is to be to articulate your key goal and then also your stretch goal.By ‘stretch’ it is going to be a statement about either experience or behaviour.For instance, that: “In 2016 I will demonstrate my strong leadership skills in a company-wide transformation project XYZ”

This may mean that I have to volunteer or find such an opportunity; make it know that you have this aspiration and willing to go ‘above and beyond’, as you see this as a learning experience and part of your longer term development

Time to create new habits (90-day plan)

It is usually the case that an extended break provides you with a broad perspective and renewed vigor for what is really important.My belief is what really counts is that you go from setting goals and objectives into putting them into practice.

A good way is that you write this up as a 90-day plan, and you share this around.This simple fact means that you are now committed to do this.Once you start on the 90-day approach, keep rolling this along with the next 90 days, and so on.

Before you know it, this will be time for your mid-year review and you have retained your new focus.Frankly you can’t make such a change without giving yourself the space to adjust to this new set of behaviours.


This can come from a few quarters, by asking your boss and team to be aware of the new goals then you can gain (hopefully) some people to ensure that you stay true to the journey.

Taking on a mentor is the other way to get 360-degree feedback on your performance.A mentor at work can easily observe you; this may be one of your internal customers and not just the safety of a person from IT.

Charles Darwin theory

Most of us believe that this theory is true and by stretching the giraffe has evolved their neck to reach the food of the juiciest branches.Conversely other giraffes have died as they have not been able to adapt fast enough.

So what will be my true 2016 stretch? Here are a few examples of what it could look like:

Network manager – take on to understand and learn all about continous monitoring in cyber security and work with peers to establish a company position on how this could be adopted in 2016.

Infrastructure manager –partner with colleagues in the applications team to make DevOps the way we do things around here.

Cyber security –adopt a ‘secure by design’ view, that myself and team will be at every Agile standup to ensure that we get into the process and are not just a roadblock at the end of the cycle.

Data warehouse – Work with my infrastructure manager colleague to pilot and rollout Hadoop with my business partners.

Reset, reset, reset

Now, you may be saying that you have to wait for your boss to provide this context.Well yes and no; your boss should want you to be a ‘leader’ and not just a ‘manager’.

This means you have to take charge on this reset, and suggest that this is what is really needed- I have to change and work with others to make this happen.

It is not about heroics but doing what really needs to be done; not just waiting for it to happen to you.

Make 2016 a great and stretchy growth year!
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