Category Archives for Personal Development

How to Write SMART Project Goals

What is the role of the project manager? The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) says, “The project manager is the person assigned by the performing organization to lead the team that is responsible for achieving the project objectives (my italics).”

Defining clear goals is the foundation of the project. Project managers and teams who start with SMART goals are positioned for success.

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Photo courtesy of

People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.” -Brian Tracy

What are SMART goals? SMART is an acronym that stands for:Continue reading

Do You Make These 3 Goal Mistakes?

In his book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack shared a Harvard study concerning MBA students who set goals. Harvard asked the graduating students, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”

It turned out that only 3 percent had written goals.

Ten years later, the researchers interviewed the students with written goals. These students were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent altogether.

If you want to make greater strides in life, write your goals and make them clear. Goals can help in every facet of life including financial, spiritual, physical, and relationships, to name a few. Let’s look at three goal mistakes that dilute the potency and potential results.

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1. Fuzzy goals. Great leaders and achievers are absolutely clear about what they wish to accomplish. Underachievers lack clarity about where they want to go and how they will get there. Fuzzy goals are safe but vague and ambiguous.

Here are some fuzzy goals:

  • Improve our customer service.

  • Become a better project manager.

  • Increase sales by end of 4th quarter.

  • Increase our membership.

These goals need specificity. When writing goals, consider these 4 questions:

  1. What action (e.g., increase, decrease, or maintain) will you take?

  2. What is the focal point (e.g., membership growth)?

  3. What is the target (e.g., 10,000 new members)?

  4. What is the deadline?

Using these questions, let’s refine the goals mentioned previously. The revised goals below are clear, engaging, and motivating.

  • Increase customer service rating from 85% to 92% by 6/30/x5.

  • Pass the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam by 9/30/x5.

  • Increase private passenger auto insurance sales by 5% by 12/31/X6.

  • Add 10,000 new members between 1/1/x5 and 12/31/x5.

2. Competing goals. Another problem is conflicts between goals. A family may have a goal to save money for their next vehicle and a goal to send two children to an expensive college.

An executive may require two different projects be completed at the same time with the same resources and a limited budget.

How can we address competing goals? Analyze and recognize the conflicts. Prioritize the deliverables and associated tasks. Break the goals into manageable tasks. See if the lower priority items may be delivered at a later date.

3. Stretch goals. Stretch goals challenge people to reach beyond their normal capacity. If done properly, stretch goals can be helpful. However, when management sets unreasonable expectations, people feel manipulated, used, and abused.

Team members burn the candle at both ends. Some individuals may take unethical actions. Others take excessive risk.

How can we set goals in a manner that challenges team members but makes the goal achievable? First, engage the team members in the goal process. Ask for their input. Second, find ways to enhance the team’s efficiency with appropriate tools and resources. Third, recognize and reward results. Say thank you.

Questions: What other mistakes do people make with goals? Please provide your insights in the comments section below.


How to Write a Mission Statement

what is your mission?“Make your life a mission – not an intermission.” -Arnold H. Glasow

Many people and organizations wander through life with little purpose. The employees, members, leaders, and stakeholders of these organizations flounder. They lack energy. There is division and a lack of alignment.

What do these individuals and organizations need? A clear and engaging mission.

What is a Mission Statement?

A mission statement is the purpose of an organization, department, team, club, or entity. Why do you exist?

How to Create a Mission Statement

Let’s consider a few examples from some very successful companies. Then we will look at the most common components of mission statements.

Mission Statement Examples:

  • “Be America’s best quick-service restaurant.” –Chick-fil-a
  • “We fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.” –Harley-Davidson, Inc.
  • “To provide the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.” –Southwest Airlines

Mission statements typically include three elements:

  • Active Verbs
  • Values
  • Whom You Serve

Active Verbs

The mission statement may have one or more active verbs. Select one to three active, precise verbs that engaging and meaningful. Here are some examples:

  • Accelerate
  • Evolve
  • Fulfill
  • Optimize


What do you value? What is most important to you and your company? Southwest Airlines values “warmth” and “friendliness”. Chick-fil-a values “the best quick-service restaurant.” Harley-Davidson highlights the “experience of motorcycling.”

Whom Do You Serve?

Great mission statements focus on the customers. Be sure to specify whom you serve. You may specify one or more groups such as:

  • Motorcyclists
  • Dog owners
  • America
  • Georgia cooking enthusiasts
  • Insurance industry
  • Rotary Club
  • Hillside Community

How to Evaluate a Mission Statement

  • Is the mission clear? Use the KISS principle – Keep It Short and Simple.
  • Is the mission winsome and motivating? Clement Stone said, “When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.”
  • Does the mission statement highlight your values?
  • Does the mission statement specify your customers?

How to Instill the Mission

It is one thing to have a mission statement. It is another thing for an organization to embrace the mission. Many companies have a mission statement on the wall, but the senior leaders rarely, if ever, highlight the mission. How do we get the mission into the hearts of our people?

  • Talk about the mission. The leaders must reinforce the mission regularly – in staff meetings, in strategic planning meetings, in the Board Room, in employee meetings, and celebrations, to name of few.
  • Focus on alignment. The leaders must continually seek to align the strategies and the activities of the organization with the mission. This habit speaks volumes to the employees.
  • Reward employees. Leaders should look for employees that demonstrate behavior supporting the mission and reward it.

Question: What is your favorite mission statement? Why?

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