How to Reach Your Goal Every Week

Written by

Justin Hall

on May 24, 2018

You start your week with the best intentions. This is the one—you’re going to knock it out of the park this week. But by Friday, a dozen random tasks pulled your attention away from your goal. Exactly what your goal even was seems very, very hard to remember.

Right? Me too.

Whether you’re wrangling your team to reach a milestone this week or psyching yourself up to launch your course this month, you can ride the primo wave of a supportive process to get there.

In 5 simple steps, here’s what we’re trying at Pathwright right now:

1. Set your destination for the month, quarter, etc.

Project planning gets a lot simpler if you set your destination before embarking. If you’re not used to filling out a project brief, just try answering these three questions to set your destination:

  • How would you summarize the project in 2-3 sentences? Pretend you’re explaining the project to a coworker over coffee.
  • What potentially contentious or high-ambiguity questions surround the project? You’ll need to answer these with someone who’s qualified during planning.
  • What jobs to be done does this project solve for? If you’re new to JTBDs, here’s a great primer.   

The time frame is up to you. We work in six-week project cycles at Pathwright. After trying week-to-week and quarterly, six week chunks works perfectly for us. Your situation may vary, but I recommend not planning too far out.

2. Choose your goal for this week.

Since you know your destination, what strategic goal for this week will take you there in time? If you’re planning to launch a new course by the end of the month, then maybe your goal for the first week sounds like “write a set of learning outcomes for my course.”

At Pathwright, we recently tried pushing ourselves to build a prototype the very first week. For a new feature, that meant developing an ugly but testable version. Prototypes shouldn’t look too nice, but they should uncover problems that were invisible before and would have derailed the project later. So maybe your goal for week one is “outline my course in Pathwright.”

3. Make your goals public.

For most of us, goals don’t work if we’re the only ones who know them. It’s too easy to downgrade my ambitions or reschedule the deadline. To prevent those outcomes, tell your team your destination and weekly goals.

Our company uses Slack and IFTTT for this. I set up these automatic questions to ping everyone…

  • At 9am on Mondays: “🏞 What's your goal for this week that'll help you reach your 6-week destination?”
  • At 9am on Tu/We/Th/Fr: “💪 What's your goal for today?”
  • At 3pm on Fridays: “🏁 How'd it go with your goal for this week?”

4. Be public about if you hit your goal this week.

Cheer with each other when you make it, and figure it out together when you don’t. Shame doesn’t belong here; you need to keep the process supportive, or it won’t work. Everyone misses goals sometimes for all kinds of reasons. Patterns of success are great to build on; patterns of failure are great for encouraging experimentation.

For missed goals, try asking these questions:

  • Was my goal specific and reasonable enough? It’s hard to hit a moving target, or a target that’s a football stadium away—try a tighter goal next week.
  • Did too many other things get in the way? I won’t always be able to, but I need to say “no” to things that get in the way of my goal—try saying “no” more next week.
  • Does weird stuff happen every week? Maybe I didn’t define the project enough before starting—try revisiting the brief.
  • Do I feel behind all the time? Maybe I don’t have as much open time for the work as I thought—try cutting scope.

For met goals, on to the next step:

5. Always show and tell.

Show your work from your weekly goal and tell your team a little about it. I’m surprised by how accessible work way outside my own discipline is—development project, sales initiatives, etc.—after a link and a few sentences of explanation.

A few examples we’ve recently shared:

  • A quick screen recording of a new feature Robert worked on.
  • A Google Doc for a new process Paul spent the week developing.
  • A link to a beta version of a site Lindsay built.

So far, it seems like if we decide to show and tell about our work every week, anything can be show-and-tell’d. Again, we use Slack for this. It’s amazing to see a digest at the end of the week summarizing the cool things everyone worked on. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how amazing your own team is when you share your work every week.

That’s it! These 5 steps keep our teams on track at Pathwright. We’d love to hear if it works for you and what you’re trying on Twitter and Facebook.

If you’re tired of not being sure your people are learning what they need to, try Pathwright. We built it from the ground up for ultimate clarity—from powerful outlining to seeing actual faces move from one step to the next. Get started free.

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