Resetting professional goals
I’ve been spending some time looking carefully at my professional goals.
A few years ago, I open sourced the mission / vision / tactical worksheet I’d been using, which was inspired by high-level organizational strategy. First, it invites you to consider your “mission”:
This is your north star. For example, a possible mission statement is to work on technology that makes the world more equal. Another example of a mission statement is to work at startups building world-class products that change the world.
Then, your “vision”. For a company, the vision is the world you want to create through your mission and activities. For a person, that’s not far off:
This is where you want to see yourself in 5 or 10 years. One long-term goal is to be the founder of a generational tech company. Other long-term goals are to be a senior individual contributor engineer, or an engineering manager, or a product manager at a large tech giant.
And then the near-term steps:
What measurable, actionable steps bring you closer to your goal?
While I’ve found this to be a useful framework, it undeniably suffers from a lack of focus. For example, the definition of a “measurable, actionable step” could vary a great deal from person to person.
SMARTIE stands for Strategic, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic, Time-bound, Inclusive, and Equitable. By incorporating an equity and inclusion component to your SMART goals, you can make sure your organization’s commitment to racial equity and inclusion is anchored by tangible and actionable steps.
The traditional definition of SMART goals is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. It’s a useful framework in itself, in the sense that at least it provides some structure and concreteness, but in its definitions it encourages you to diminish mission and values in your work. A goal that is Specific and Achievable is highly likely to just be iterative on what you’re already doing.