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How to Have Productive Professional Goal-Setting Conversations Right Now

Date

September 21, 2020

Read Time

2 minutes

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Authors: Melissa Nelson and Becky Jo Morgan

Like most organizations, LP had no idea we would still be living in a world of uncertainty at this point in 2020. Back in March, LP attorneys were in the middle of their annual goal-setting exercise. As part of this process, our attorneys look at the year to come and develop their goals and objectives for professional development, client service, and personal growth. When the pandemic hit, however, we decided to pause our goal-setting activities because it seemed difficult to know what reasonable goals for this year could be.

Fast forward six months and we’re still operating in a place of great uncertainty. Because we want to continue moving forward as a firm and encourage our attorneys and staff to move forward as well, rather than keep our goal-setting exercises on hold until there is more certainty, we have embraced our new realities and adjusted the process. Our goal-setting conversations and exercises look different this year, but they will be as – or more – productive than in years past because we have taken a nimble, proactive, authentic approach to them.

To help with your goal-setting processes, here are some of the conversations we are having here at LP and you may want to include as part of the ongoing conversations you are having within your organization:

  • Start with some introspection. Do you have the mental and emotional capacity to look beyond survival mode?  If you aren’t sure that you do, spend a little time imagining how it could feel to think about the future and plan for post-pandemic life.  Perhaps this could be the push you need to emerge from survival mode and into a growth mentality.
  • Start small. Making a year-long goal may feel too overwhelming right now. Instead, focus on smaller chunks of time. Now is not the time for monumental plans. What can you accomplish in the next 90 days that will put you in a better place?
  • Capture what you have already accomplished.  If you have been able to achieve certain goals during this time, track them.  This will help you to realize you are indeed making progress.
  • Write it down. Research shows that the act of writing your goals down will help you accomplish them.
  • Share your goals with a colleague or friend.  Getting input is not only encouraging but also a great check and balance.
  • Reassess periodically. Check in again in 90 days, and continue the process.

While this year has certainly been unpredictable, it’s a reminder that even in “normal” years, we never know what’s going to happen next. We should always be revising our goals to match the changing landscape, and growth can happen in any situation – even if it looks different than we might have expected.


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