Goal Setting: Motivating Your People to Keep Developing

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It’s easy for people to lose sight of the personal development goals set at the beginning of the year. How do you motivate them to keep developing throughout?

Half of 2021 is already behind us, and the pace of change seems to be accelerating. With so much going on, it’s easy for people to lose sight of the personal development goals they set in the organization’s performance management platform at the beginning of the year. So, I decided to put together a two-part series for July on goal setting to help people assess what they’ve achieved so far, and realign goals set at the beginning of the year.

In this first blog, I wanted to give my advice on how to motivate people to keep developing throughout the year.

  • Use the Psychology of Commitment and Consistency to Help People Stay on Track: Robert Cialdini’s law of commitment and consistency can be very helpful in keeping your team focused on their development goals. Simply put it states that once people have made a clear commitment to something, the decisions they take are usually consistent with that commitment. So, why not encourage your team to write down the commitment they have made to their development in 2021. Better still, why not use a technique a friend of mine introduced me to? Get a photo frame and put your commitment in the center of the frame, leaving a lot of space around the sides. Then fill in the space with each small step taken to achieve the commitment made. Each addition to the frame will encourage you to take the next small step. At the end of the year you’ll have a great visual record of what you’ve done and what remains to be done in 2022. By making this visible commitment, colleagues will be aware and will encourage you to stay on track. And the motivation to be consistent is much bigger when we know that other people are aware of the commitment we have made.

  • Use Regular Check-Ins to Prompt the Next Little Step Rather Than Big Leaps: In my opinion, people often fail to reach development goals because they feel that the goal set requires a superhuman leap. The psychology of commitment and consistency could be called the law of little steps because it prompts people to make progress towards a goal one step at a time. Line coaches can support the development journey with regular check-ins. Each contact can encourage a colleague to take the next little step and thus reinforce their commitment to the goal.

  • Add Some Friendly Competition: The beauty of the photo frame idea is that it’s a visual prompt for the individual to keep progressing. Imagine if progress towards a development goal was visible to a whole team with the aid of a software package. This could introduce a friendly competitive element that prompts people to take the next little step. I don’t mean you need to encourage competition between teams, but help your people to stay competitive with themselves. Have software that allows your people to have a tangible visualization of where they are, where they want to progress to, and the steps they need to take to get there.

As we progress through the second half of the year, it’s important to re-energize and refocus teams to hit the goals they set for themselves. I hope these tips help you to motivate your people to keep developing. I’m sure there are many other ways I haven’t mentioned, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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