How to Make sure you Achieve your 2014 Leadership Goals

This post first appeared in SmartBlog on Leadership:
It’s that
time of year when many of us, with the best of intentions will write a
leadership development plan, or establish goals for the upcoming
year. Unfortunately, most of us will fail to achieve those goals.

Why? We fail
for a lot of reasons, most importantly, we underestimate how hard it is to
change behavior.

others reasons too. We often set very high level, nebulous leadership goals
like “be more strategic”, or “be a better leader”, without having a way to
measure our progress towards achieving that goal. There’s no accountability, no
way to see if we are making progress, and no motivation to keep trying.

I recently
attended a conference where leadership development guru, author, and coach
was a
keynote speaker.

He shared a technique that’s he’s been using for a number of years that has helps
him achieve his goals. At the end of his presentation, he asked if anyone was
interested in participating in some research (for 10 days) using a similar
technique to leave a business card. He said most people won’t – and if they
did, they wouldn’t stick with it.

Well I did – I
haven’t given up – and I’m loving the results!

Here’s how it

Step one: establish your goals

Establish a
number of daily, behavioral objectives – things that you have an opportunity to
do every day and can answered with a number (i.e., 1-7 scale).  It’s important that your establish your own
objectives – things that are important to you – but here’s a list to choose
from if you need some examples or help getting started:

1. I did my
best to really listen to others
2. I had positive
interactions with others
3. I did my
best to be happy
4. I set
measurable goals for the day
5. I did my
very best to achieve my goals
6. I added
value today
7. I inspired
someone today
8. I helped
someone else be successful or solve their own problem
9. I was engaged
in my work
10. My work
had meaning

Step 2: Daily follow-up and

There are a
number of ways to do this. You can have a good friend call you or email every
day and ask you to score yourself on each question. No long winded analysis,
beating yourself up, or excuses – just a number. You or your friend should keep
track of your answers on a spreadsheet.

Or, you can use
the tool
that I’m
using for the research. You are welcome to participate in Marshall’s study
using simply providing your email to
There’s even an accountability app that does the emails and scoring for

I’m not a
behavioral psychologist, but I could guess why this seems to working so well.
When I first started answering the questions, my scores were pretty low.
However, responded to that darn email every day has motivated me to really pay
attention – and try harder – to things that may have gotten overlooked without
the reminder.

Although I
haven’t seen my results yet, I know my numbers are going up. And just like when
you step on the scale when dieting and see those numbers go down, it’s
motivating to see the measurable results!

I wish you
success, goal achievement, and happiness in 2014!