How to Refresh Your Q2 Goals (Or Set Them in the First Place)

RefreshQ2Goals_FeatureQ1 just ended.

Time to take a breather…

Review your progress…

And refresh your Q2 goals to make sure they’re still relevant and achievable.

(Or, for some of you; now’s the time to actually create your Q2 goals.)

If you already have Q2 goals in place, then skip down to the header marked “How to Refresh Your Quarterly Goals”.

But if you never set quarterly goals with your manager in the first place, we need to take a minute to stress their importance.

Why Bother with Quarterly Goals?

In the beginning of the year, you and your manager sat down to work out your targets for the whole year. These annual goals are important to set.

They’re big.

They’re ambitious.

They offer the sort of vision of your professional life that author Brendan Buchard describes as “…so big and bright and meaningful that you will get out of bed and chase it until you grasp it or die.” 

However, as inspiring as annual goals may be, they aren’t always useful for defining what actions you should take in your day-to-day work life. Annual goals are often so large it’s challenging to know where to start in on them, and how to accurately measure your completed progress as you work on them.

In short: annual goals are inspirational, but they aren’t out-of-the-box actionable.

That’s why it’s useful to break your big annual goals down into smaller, shorter goals.

How Small and Short Do My Goals Need to Be?

For professional and personal reasons, goals seem to work best in quarterly, or 90 day, chunks:

  • The business already measures progress and organizes itself around quarters.
  • Companies already utilize 90-day periods for employee evaluation.
  • They allow you to focus on a limited range of the work at a time instead of spreading yourself too thin trying to do everything at once.
  • Quarterly goals allow you to change course if priorities shift, without spending too much time down a now obsolete path.
  • On an individual level, they offer a good middle ground between ambitious and achievable. As Tom Mendoza Vice Chairman of Net App explained to Forbes:
    “When I first started setting goals, I’d set six-month goals. But I discovered I didn’t start working on them until I had 90 days left: I’d procrastinate.
    Procrastination is the killer of all goal setting. You have to set a goal with a time limit that causes you to take action today.
    I picked 90 days because I wanted to give myself enough time to accomplish something, but not so much time that I’d procrastinate.”
  • And—most important—quarterly goals give you a great excuse to get in front of your boss, report on substantial progress, and remind them of any financial commitments they attached to that progress.

If you haven’t yet set your quarterly goals for the year, do so now. Follow this procedure.

If you already have your Q2 goals in place, then take a couple hours to ensure they remain both relevant and achievable, and to update them as necessary.

How to Refresh Your Quarterly Goals

  1. Take out your Q1 goals. Take out your list of projects. Compare the two. Did you achieve all your Q1 goals? Are you still working on a few of them? Did you achieve them all? Are you actually ahead of schedule? Develop a clear understanding of your current position, responsibilities and productivity level.
  2. Now look at your current Q2 goals. Ask yourself: “Are these goals still achievable, considering how Q1 went and what remaining Q1 work I have on my plate?”
  3. If needed, adjust accordingly. Add or remove priorities. Shift timelines. Create an updated list of your Q2 goals.
  4. Schedule an hour with your boss to review these goals.
  5. In that meeting, share your new Q2 goals, work with your boss to approve, adjust and finalize any changes the two of you consider necessary.
  6. If needed—shift your bonus and raise opportunities to new goals.

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