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Unable to achieve short-term goals? Forget attaining the long-range ones

By JAMES KAHONGEH
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For most professionals, citing career goals is a no-brainer. They have these at their fingertips: to become an authority in their profession, acquire managerial skills, earn promotion or get a new job three years into their current one.

These targets, in most cases, are long-range goals. Few give much attention to short-range goals achievable on, say, an annual basis, yet, as consulting HR expert Mercy Mwirigi advises, it is the ability to attain short-term career objectives that ultimately determines whether or not you will accomplish your long-term career goals.

She warns that as long as you fail to achieve these “softer” goals, your long-term career targets remain a pipe dream.

Communication skills

The place of effective communication in any profession can never be overstated. Being a strong communicator creates an aura of appeal around you. It builds the trust of both clients and fellow professionals in you.

Learn to listen more. Be clear and assertive in what you say.

Mind your body language. Ask yourself these questions: Am I a better communicator now than I was when the year started?

How do I deal with divergent perspectives? Do I respond to mail on time? What tone do I use in my correspondence? How you communicate with other people could be the difference between making strides in your career or remaining stuck in the same position forever.

Understanding your role

Absurd as it sounds, there are professionals who always take additional roles (often outside their job description) for different reasons.

Carrying out other duties may be good for the overall performance of your organisation, but this does not in the least help you to grow professionally.

Understanding your job description and sticking to it enables you to dispense your duties with ease and without distractions.

Besides, performance appraisals assess you based on your prescribed roles. Speak with your supervisor to understand what your employer expects of you.

Do not waste time, energy and resources doing other people’s work while you could be doing something for your personally growth.

Develop personal values

Always aim at firming your personal values. People see you through the prism of your personal attributes.

What would your colleagues, supervisors, managers and clients say about your ethics? Do you have integrity? Are you accountable? Can you be relied upon?

Most importantly, do you uphold absolute professionalism? Reflect on remarks made about you by those who you interact with daily.

Change of attitude

Sometimes it is normal to feel detached from one’s work. Lack of enough motivation and poor remuneration could be some of the reasons.

But it is not sensible to grumble about everything and everyone in your work environment.

If you find fault at everything at all times, then you could just be the problem. For a seamless work experience, learn to appreciate what you do.

Embrace the people you work with. Instead of seeking to change other people, why don’t you start with yourself? In what ways has your attitude changed this year?

Positive feedback

How many times this year have you been commended at your work place for a job well done? Positive remarks are gratifying and go a long way in providing the necessary boost to do even better.

If you receive compliments regularly, this could signify that you are firmly on track. If, on the other hand, your supervisors and colleagues constantly poke holes into your work, you should be alarmed. Always attempt to always deliver quality work that is free of errors.

Learn a new skill

A professional eyeing growth in their career is never content with the set of skills they already have in their basket. Instead, they aggressively endeavour to acquire many more so as to expand the scope of what they can do.

One way to do so is to take a short course in your field of work. Should an opening come up in that area, you would be eligible for consideration.

Learning other things helps to improve the quality of your performance while making your résumé more solid. What new skill have you acquired in your line of work this year?

Teamwork
Multiple researches in the last 10 years have shown that teamwork yields better results than when people work individually. It is for this reason that organisations these days put emphasis on group assignments.

Whereas you may be talented at what you do, you certainly cannot outperform five other brains put together, for instance.

Gelling with people and working efficiently within teams enriches your expertise, ultimately making you a more competent professional. Embrace diversity and be tolerant.

Being able to work with people from multiple generations, people with different ethics and cultural influences grooms you for future roles in different capacities.

If you feel more comfortable working alone as opposed to within groups, this might hurt your long-term career progression. How well have you worked with other people this year?

Contribution to the organisation

The primary reason you are on your organisation’s payroll is to contribute to its revenue goals.

In the tough business environment that businesses work today, no employer would afford to pay salaries and wages to employees whose contribution is minimal. This is also why firms retrench workers at the turn of every year.

How competitive have you been this year? Have you achieved your personal targets and those set for you by your employer? Progress means setting new and higher targets every year and attaining them.

Align your goals to that of the organisation. You should also be able to explain your input to the organisation’s success.

It is around this time of the year when people reflect on what they achieved throughout the year and draft resolutions for the next year.

As a professional, it is important that you also identify your career objectives. Start by what is achievable in the next couple of weeks, months or one year.

The beauty of short-term goals is that they are flexible enough – you are at liberty at all times to modify and re-evaluate them mid-stream.

This is not the case with long-term goals. You cannot, for instance, start practising law if you had trained as a medical doctor.