If there’s one thing I learned in my career is that it can be very difficult and demotivating to work without a direction to follow, or a goal to aim for. Jobs where expectations are unclear or undefined can make your life difficult when comes the time to explain your progress.
Of all the jobs I’ve had, only one place asked me to come up with my own goals for my probation period. Not that I believe that personal goals are absolutely necessary, but they can be a very powerful tool for self-assessment.
To avoid leaving anything to chance, I take upon myself to create my own goals. However, what should they be aligned on? Most personal goals in business are aligned with organizational goals. Is there anything more off-putting than having to align personal goals to support more revenues, or lower costs. It isn’t very exciting.
In order to create goals that stimulate and motivate me, I tried using a concept that was popularized by the company Spotify. The “Definition of Awesome” is a list of elements one judges necessary to master in order to be considered Awesome. Nothing less.
This can apply to individuals as well as teams or even organizations. The idea is to answer these questions : If we were the world’s best team, what concepts would we master? What reflexes would we have? What would we do that we’re not doing right now?
Without necessarily aiming for perfection, while staying on the verge of utopia without falling in it, it is a challenge to identify a set of behaviors, knowledge or reflexes we would have if we were the best at what we do.
An awesome beacon on the horizon
The purpose of the exercise is to create a destination point on the horizon. A point of reference that we will recognize at all times, and will guide us. When an obstacle will rise between us and our destination, we can go around it and find our way again. One can even use this as a guide in a dilemma where multiple course of actions are possible. All in all, it’s a beacon we need to keep an eye on.
When our Definition of Done is defined, we can even add milestones to it, or create SMART goals that can help us measure our progress towards Awesomeness.
I will end this article by sharing my own personal Definition of Awesome, that I printed and displayed near my desk, as a reminder to myself. For those who want to experiment, I created this infographic with Canva.
Olivier’s Definition of Awesome
- Work is not delegated as teammates volunteer
- The team is focused on achieving excellence
- Olivier supports the team that is mostly self-managed
- More developers want to work here than we can hire
- Other companies talk about the Marine Press culture
Now, what is YOUR Definition of Awesome?
Owner of Primos Populi, partner and coach at Moabi. As a former manager, I prefer to use a “people first, the rest will follow” kind of approach. My favorite topics are organizational culture, safe work environments, and lowering the center of gravity of the decision making process. I cultivate people’s awesomeness.