Career goals are a prerequisite to your business analyst success, make your goals real and achieve them with these 8 ways that pump your SMART goals smarter.
If you work in business analysis and change, chances are you’re well acquainted with the SMART way to write your business analyst career goals – SMART speaks to particular criteria that guide us in the setting of objectives and achieving them.
Here’s their reminder …
- Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
- Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
- Achievable – the goal should be able to be accomplished.
- Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
- Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
That’s the SMART theory, but putting it into practice can be difficult. Why do our objectives fail to motivate us in many instances? Why do we seem to set goals once a year – check in half-way through – and gradually, and surely, let our good intentions lapse over the course of the 12 months?
Only every 5 months do business analysts invest time planning their career development. *
Does this sound familiar?
For goals to really work well, they need to be more than specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-related … they need to be attractive to us, to motivate us to achieve them. Remarkable business analysts don’t over-ponder whether their goals are only SMART… they believe in their goals, wholeheartedly, even when others think they are over-ambitious.
Are you ready to see your business analyst career soar?
Let’s make your SMART goals even smarter by pumping them up with Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) techniques to develop new habits of behaviour and thought that will remap your career path towards business analysis success.
What’s NLP? …
NLP is a connection between the brain (Neuro), language (Linguistic) and behavioural patterns learned through experience (Programming), and this connection can be leveraged to help you achieve your business analyst career goals.
NLP modelling allows us to go beyond simple goal setting into the actual programming of our minds to drive us to our desired future goal.
Here are your 8 ways to pump your SMART goals smarter:
#1. State your goal in a positive way
Describe your goal as the progression from your present situation to your desired future. The mind cannot process a negative instruction, for example if I say ‘don’t think of the colour blue’, what comes to mind? So, always state your goal in the positive.
Be successful by defining your goal positively and reflecting what you are intent on moving towards.
What would you like to happen? What outcome do you want? Be specific about what it is you want to achieve. Stating that you want to learn more business analysis techniques is vague. Write down how many new techniques, what aspect they improve or, even better, be exact and name them, because what we think is what we get!
To create your roadmap ask yourself these questions for each of your goals:
- Where am I now?
- Where do I want to be?
- What do I want to achieve?
- What am I going towards?
#2. Visualise your goal in a sensory way
Picture what it would be like having achieved your goal. The unconscious mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. So, engage all of your senses in this description process to build pathways in your mind, making it real.
Close your eyes and imagine how it tastes, smells, feels, looks and sounds when you have achieved your goal.
What will you see, hear, feel, etc., as you move towards your desired future? Describe in detail the steps that are necessary to reach your goal. By using your imagination to visualise the stages needed to move towards your outcome you are already far on your way to succeeding!
Step 1, find the right business analysis course for me. Step 2, pick a date from the course schedule Step 3, register and pay to secure my place. Step 4, attend the course and learn my new business analysis techniques.
Ask yourself these questions as you formulate your plan:
- Have I broken down my goal into individual tasks?
- Are the sizes of the tasks manageable?
- Is each one do-able?
#3. Frame your goal in a compelling way
Give your goal purpose by specifying your desired future in a meaningful way. We live in our imagination. Seeing and hearing events from the outside create a magnetic force. So, disassociate yourself and visualise yourself achieving your goal.
Rehearse the outcome in your minds-eye, taking the steps you have formulated as if they were happening right now.
If your goal isn’t really compelling, are you going to be motivated to go after it? Disconnect yourself and picture the experience, notice what it looks like to achieve your goal, hear what people are saying. Let this imagery motivate you and make you so hungry to achieve it that it compels you to go after it!
My business stakeholders will be more engaged having had their situations and perspectives thoroughly considered, and satisfied that their true business requirements have been identified.
- Does my goal make me excited?
- What will achieving the goal mean to me?
- What impact will achieving it have on my delivery?
- What will achieving it mean to my organisation?
- Who else will benefit when I achieve my goal?
- What does success look like from their point of view?
- What do I really want to happen by achieving this?
#4. Review your goal in a quality way
Validate your goal to make certain that it’s the right goal. Setting goals holistically ensures that they are socially, financially, and ecologically sound, and that your decision won’t cause future issues. So, run a quality check to make sure that your goal fits every part.
Assess your goal to ensure it is valuable, achievable and appropriate in all areas of your life.
Will the results be worth the time, resources, and effort involved? What are the benefits of not achieving your goal? Catch and solve potential problems in your imagination, where it’s fast and free. Walking through the future vividly will help you create the results you want!
Perhaps your goal is to grow your professional network, meaning that you need to attend some evening chapter meetings. If this impacts family commitments, then it might upset the equilibrium in your personal life.
Here is a checklist you can use to confirm your goals:
- Is the goal right for me?
- What will having my goal give me that I do not have now?
- What will having my goal cause me to lose?
- What affect will my goal have on my job and career?
- What implications does it have on other parts of my life?
- Am I factoring in my family and does it work around my family?
#5. Own your goal in a contained way
Make sure your goal can be self-initiated and maintained. Is the goal something that you truly want to achieve? Or is it being driven from elsewhere? The outcome has to come from you, if you are to be fully motivated to achieve it. So, make sure that your goal reflects things that you believe in.
Ensure you are in control of the result, as well as the journey along the way, and the goal itself.
Your desired future must be within your power or ability to do or influence. It must not be something that is primarily dependent on other people. If dependency on others is unavoidable, think about how you can reduce this or what you need to do to make sure they complete their part as needed!
Perhaps your goal is to be named Business Analyst Of The Year in 2017. Whilst it is out of your hands whether you will be given the title, you can certainly control every aspect of meeting the requirements to be considered for this prestigious award. Such as, getting involved in the business analysis community, which is one of the requirements.
Questions to ask of your goal:
- Is my goal for myself or someone else?
- Is achieving my goal within my control?
- Does achieving my outcome rely upon external factors?
- Can I drive the course of action?
#6. Plan your goal in a contextual way
Give precise context around your desired future goal. Dreams are free-floating fantasies that are not linked with a plan. Goals or objectives have a realistic and timed action plan. Fine tune what you want by eliminating what you don’t want. So, determine what you will do and when you will do it.
Plan your action plan detailing how you will implement your goal, and schedule when you will do it.
Identify who else will be involved in the achievement of your outcome. Generate a plan of how you intend to reach your goal, step by step. Set time limits, set exact dates and even times for when you will get things done. Without the where, when and with whom, you will never fully know what you are doing!
Step 1, choose the Strategic Business Analysis course. Step 2, register my place on the 22 – 24 May 2017 presentation taking place in Cape Town, by 24th February 2017. Step 3, Attend the course and own my new business analysis skills from 25 May 2017.
Ask these questions to be clear about what you are doing:
- Is my goal appropriately framed?
- Where, when, how, with whom, etc. will I get this goal?
- Is the context fitting and appropriate?
#7. Pack the resources you’ll need along the way
Identify the resources you will need in order to get this goal. Resources are the people, knowledge, training and tools you need to help you accomplish your goal. So, make sure that it is achievable for you with the resources at you disposal and realistic to achieve it in the time that you have available.
Determine the external and internal resources necessary to achieve your goal according to plan.
What prevents you from moving toward the goal and attaining it now? It helps when there is someone you know that has already achieved the goal that you are able to learn from. Your past experiences may be a good resource to help you identify the resources and support you need!
To undertake the business analysis course, I’ll need to motivate for my company to invest in my career by paying the course fees and approving 3 days study leave to attend it.
Check your internal and external resources against these questions:
- What prevents me from moving toward it and attaining it now?
- What resources do I currently have?
- What resources do I need to acquire?
- What training do I need?
- Have I ever had or done this, or something similar, before?
- Do I know anyone who has achieved this goal?
- Who will I have to become to achieve my goal?
#8. Know the evidence so you’ll know you found your way
Measure progress to determine when you have achieved your goal. Sometimes we can achieve goals without even realising it. In a week, month, year from now, looking back to now, think what will you have achieved that demonstrates to you that you made progress. So, you need to know when you have realised it.
Describe the outcomes you and others will have, see or experience that will indicate that your goal has been achieved.
How will you know when you have actually reached your outcome? To really connect with your goal or outcome you need to be able to envision it with your senses. Again, use your imagination to see, hear, feel, smell, taste the achievement of your outcome. Act like you have it and you are more likely to get it!
As I hold the BCMG Strategic Business Analysis course certificate in my hands, I feel proud and confident that I have acquired my new business analyst skills.
When you are defining your goal evidence, ask yourself:
- Do I have a way to monitor my progress?
- How often will I check my progress?
- Do I have a way to deal with interferences?
- How will I know that my goal has been realised?
- What will I see, hear, feel, smell, taste?
- Who provides me with feedback?
* Statistics courtesy of Inter-View Report 2016.