80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week in February. Just 6 weeks after setting a resolution, the vast majority of people quickly realize their goals are unattainable. Setting unrealistic goals can be de-motivating for yourself and the teams you lead. Conversely, setting realistic goals can lead to inspiration and transformative change.

Sometimes it’s not easy to see transformation in-progress. In 2014, I lost 20 pounds when training for a marathon. I didn’t notice the daily changes to my body, but when I saw friends, they noted my weight loss as dramatic and transformational.

Learning is not that different from exercise; both benefit from attainable and clear goals that act as stepping stones throughout the process of change.

Here are 4 pointers to help guide you in setting achievable goals for L&D.

  1. Know the difference between a Point B and a North Star

Many of the organizations using Degreed seek a self-driven learning culture, where learners are empowered to drive their development. We encourage that vision, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Just like a North Star guiding a ship — it’s a directional aim that makes sure you’re headed in the right direction. However, the path to achieving that vision is formed from a series of milestones that transform your organization’s learning culture over time and in manageable increments. To start, assign each quarter of the year a clear milestone that serves as your stepping stones to achieving that greater vision. These quarterly goals are the Point B, Point C, and Point D on your way to a North Star.

  1. Set goals you can control

Whenever possible, set goals that you directly control. When there’s “skin in the game”, no one will work harder to achieve a goal. Things always take longer than you think when depending on other people. Rightfully so — those people have their own goals and priorities. If you’re focused on setting goals where you control all the levers, you can move more quickly. As an L&D team, you’ll likely need to work cross-functionally to enable learning in all parts of the organization. You’re your goals do depend on other teams, you’ll need to work hard to influence and lobby others to prioritize your initiatives.

  1. Attach measurable metrics to your goals and adjust when necessary

Picture yourself at the end of the year or the end of the quarter. You don’t want to come to the end unsure whether you achieved your goals. So before you even begin, establish clear metrics to track against on a regular basis, so that you can tell whether or not you’re headed in the right direction. Those goals should be tracked monthly, if not weekly. The more quickly you can identify whether you’re headed in the wrong direction, the more quickly you can adjust your tactics.

For example, let’s say one of your L&D Goals is to create a more social learning experience. How will you measure that result? You could measure through a survey that queries your learners, but you could also measure changes in takeaways, recommendations, or followers on Degreed as an indicator of that collaboration. Seeing clear increases in the sharing of learning items is correlated to more social learning.

  1. Determine specific tactics and strategies that support each goal.

If the goal is the end result, the tactics are the levers you pull to enable that end result. Most likely, you’ll need to deploy a handful of tactics , and these are the projects you’re going to do in the day-to-day to work towards the goal.

Tying it to learning, one of your goals might be to retain top talent in your organization. One supporting tactic to achieve that goal may be to enable FlexED (Degreed’s flexible spending account) to reward top talent and invest in their learning. A secondary tactic could be to establish a mentorship program, where you pair top talent with executives. A third could be to use skills ratings to show the learners progress and how much they are learning in their organization over time. These tactics support the achievement of the greater goal and are much more actionable. Remember that each of these tactics should come attached with specific measurable metrics. Even your top-level goal should have metrics, by measuring the churn rate of your top talent.

While these four suggestions can help you to start your year more effectively, your goals may shift throughout the year. External factors can cause priorities to shift, resources grow and shrink, so in my next post, I’ll talk through how to recognize when your goals need to change.

  • Do I need to completely change things, or just tweak them?
  • Is the goal wrong or are your tactics not effective?
  • How can I get to the core of why things aren’t working?

Ready to get started? Get going! and stay tuned for Part 2.

Disney doesn’t sell theme park tickets. GoPro doesn’t sell cameras. They sell stories.

Storytelling is the underlying narrative behind every brand. The greatest brands of our time realize that the physical products and services they offer are secondary to the way that they make us feel. We follow brands whose products fit into the picturebook story of our better selves.

In 2015, GoPro flew athletes to a storytelling camp where their training, product development, and media production teams taught the athletes how to create the best possible stories through their content. On GoPro’s instagram page, each photographer tells a story about the shot they’ve taken.

Storytelling

Stories are how we connect with others and affirm who we are. We all secretly envy that friend who manages to enthrall the dinner table with their most recent epic adventures. Beyond the dinner parties, great storytelling helps develop strong business strategies, makes you a better marketer, and helps you sell yourself as you grow your career.

Nowadays, there are dozens of online courses about storytelling, and we’ve rounded out 3 of our recent favorites.

OneMonth – Storytelling for Business

Taught by Master Storyteller Kevin Allison, from the popular podcast ‘Risk!’, this is an intensive 30-day workshop that breaks down every aspect of storytelling. Take this course if you want a deep dive on storytelling from a pro. This course registration ends on May 27th (this Friday!), so you’ll need to sign up quickly. OneMonth is also giving our readers 10% off their course by clicking this link.

IDEOU – Storytelling for Influence

From the great minds at IDEO, this course gives you a flexible tool kit for storytelling from the Design Director at IDEO who led the consultancy for brand strategy and storytelling for Marriott, Mattel, and others. You’ll learn from actual case studies from IDEO in order to build your storytelling tool kit.

Udemy – Storytelling for Public Speakers: From Zero to Hero

For a lighter introduction to storytelling, this Udemy course will give you the tools to improve your public speaking. This course is taught by Alex Glod, a trainer and TEDx speaker.

There are also hundreds of free resources across the web. Sign up for a Degreed account, search for storytelling, and start learning today.

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