Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Personal quarterly objectives

Many of us work in places that use quarterly objectives (aka MBO's, or Management By Objectives). These are typically a list of 3-5 "targets" to be achieved within a given quarter. They are a great tool for guiding focus and prioritization, and provide a means to review how well you did at the end of the quarter.

Why not move to an MBO-like model for your personal development? It's easy - at the beginning of a quarter, get into the habit of stepping back and contemplating what you want to get done during the next quarter.

Here are some tips and tricks to increase the effectiveness of this approach:

  1. Keep the list short - 3 to 5 objectives are about right.
  2. Write down your personal MBO's using the "SMART" formula:

    • Specific - make sure you are very clear and explicit about what you want to achieve (practice your outcome-centric visualization.
    • Measurable - make sure there is a way (preferrably objective, and not subjective) to measure your progress and success.
    • Achievable - Are the objectives ones that you can actually attain?
    • Realistic - Dreaming is great, but do you have the ability and resources to succeed?
    • Time-bound -have you set a target date by when you will achieve the outcome?

  3. Review your objectives regularly (some people like to hang the list near their desk. I've also heard of people who keep a copy of their list on the mirror in their bathroom so they see it every morning when they get ready.
  4. At the end of the quarter, review and rate your outcomes. Also reflect on what you've learned along the way.

I'd love to hear whether you've every utilized a similar approach, and would like to hear any additional ideas you have to share.