The best employees set goals and achieve them. Athletes are great at setting goals; often very strategic and specific goals. Take a marathon runner for example. It takes a lot of time, effort and energy to run a marathon. A marathon runner sees the goal, visualizes the goal, sets a race date and takes specific steps to be ready on race day. They have to organize and balance their time very well. They have to manage time between work, home, running and any other time consuming tasks. There are only so many hours in the day to get in a run.
For some reason Corporate America has a hard time recognizing this type of goal setting as important. Many managers don't correlate personal goals outside of work to success at work. I will take the employee that has a goal to run a marathon any day over the employee that has a goal to read one or two career development books. On paper you might be thinking that book is more related to their job, but think about how much focus it takes to be a marathon runner. How much commitment it takes.
- I want the employee who is going to be laser-focused.
- I want the employee that knows how to set goals.
- I want the employee that commits.
That is why athletes make the best employees.
As a manager, anytime I had an employee that wanted to have a personal development goal instead of a "mandatory" career development goal I was super excited. To me that meant they had a vision for themselves, they saw themselves going somewhere. That is the type of employee that you want.
So let's stop focusing on how many books we can read and be focused on what's going to challenge us, keep us fresh and teach us focus. Let employees think outside the box. Let them focus on writing, documenting and achieving goals. Let them focus on things that are actually going to make them better and stronger employees and stop counting the number of books they have read.
Challenge yourself and your employees to set a new goal outside of work. Something that will refocus you and be fun.
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