The first 2022 episode of “Plugged In” is live and packed with inspiration for the new year! Caitlin Kissee sits down for a conversation all about goal setting through a strengths lens and giving yourself grace. Keep reading the show notes to learn more about Caitlin and her tips for goal setting in the new year.
Caitlin Kissee is a local business owner, Gallup Strengths expert, and the Signature Class Strengths Facilitator for the 2021-2022 program year. A mission-driven entrepreneur who wears many hats, Caitlin began her career in nonprofit management. From working in a nonprofit, she morphed into the role of a Strengths Coach. She went on to start her company Propel People Development with the idea of “helping propel people towards their mission-driven purpose, again through the lens of strengths.” Caitlin also joined the skincare and cosmetic company BeautyCounter with a mission to get safer products in the hands of everyone.
Her mission-driven work has also driven her goals. It gives her an idea of what her “why” is, which is important when talking about goal setting. Caitlin used to see goal setting as a to-do list that if not completed, makes you a failure. Over time she has learned that’s not the reality of goal setting. It can be liberating when you can give yourself grace, see it as “vision casting and dreaming” and know there’s some flexibility involved.
Caitlin shared a method she likes for goal setting which is the “bite-size to do”. She starts each year with her annual goals. She then backs up, breaking the goal down quarterly, and then monthly. This allows for flexibility as the year goes on. If there are factors in or out of your control one month that affect you hitting your monthly goal, you can adapt and adjust your quarterly goals to reflect those changes! This benefit of having goals at different levels shows how backing them up into those “bite-sized” phases can relieve pressure. Here are a few more of Caitlin’s overall tips for goal setting:
- There’s nothing magical about January 1.
- “You can start something new or start a new goal or adjust your goal at any time.”
- SMART goals are important.
- SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. These guidelines can be helpful when setting goals because you’re easily able to track your progress.
- Make your goals visible.
- “Whether you post them in your car, or on your bathroom mirror, or in your phone, or whatever works for you. Just somewhere that you’re going to be looking at frequently so that you’re reminded of what your goals are and where you’re going.”
- Share your goals.
- “Communicate those with someone else so that you develop your own kind of personal board of directors or cheerleaders that are helping you accomplish those goals.”
- “Goal setting is not an area where we want to preserve fierce independence. It’s really helpful to have other people in on those goals.”
- Look at where you’ve been to figure out where you’re going.
- Track your goals and use the historical data to help you figure out where you want to go.
- Your goals are not a to-do list.
- “Be flexible. Give yourself some grace with goal setting. You have to be willing to adjust and take in new information.”
Strengths-Based Goal Setting
Caitlin shared a lot of knowledge about how our strengths play a role in our individual goal setting styles. She states, “Our strengths will influence how we view and approach goal setting, just like they influence how we view and approach anything. Understanding how you think, feel, and behave is the foundation for everything that you do. And goal setting is no different.”
Start to think about how you approach goal setting by thinking about how you’re wired. Measure your reaction to the idea of goals. Caitlin posed these questions to consider: When we talk about goal setting, how does that make you feel? What are those fears? What are those anxieties? What is exciting about it? She encourages you to lean into the areas that give you energy.
Caitlin talked a bit more about the strengths framework as she got into a Strengths-Based lens for your goals. Within the Clifton Strengths Assessment, there are 34 talent themes. These themes roll up into this additional framework called the four domains: Executing, Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, and Influencing. “This is just another way to help us really understand how we act but also how we contribute to teams.” She reminded us that “Individuals don’t need to be well rounded, but teams do.” Since goal setting doesn’t have to be a strictly independent activity, we want to lean into the strengths of others too. “We can’t ignore our weaknesses, but we can manage them through partnerships and systems.” Read Caitlin’s insights and ideas for people with high strengths in each domain on how to approach goal setting, individually and in teams!
Executing Strengths Domain
- You’re the one who gets things done and makes things happen. You might be strong in individual talent themes like Achiever, Discipline, or Focus.
- Goal setting may traditionally feel easier for you because you’re driven. Lean into that drive to break goals down into phases!
Influencing Strengths Domain
- These people are really good at spreading a message, sharing a story, and waving the flag outside of the team.
- Think about goal setting through this lens: What legacy do you want your goals to leave in the coming year? What impact outside of yourself, your team, your family do you want your goals to have? Connect that to what that means you need to do. Back up into your goals. What are you going to have to do to achieve them?
Relationship Building Strengths Domain
- These people are usually the glue that helps hold the team together with strengths like Harmony or Includer. They’re making sure everyone is functioning well and having a good time within the team.
- Their goals are going to be oriented around relationships. Instead of just setting individual goals, you may want to look at goal setting through the lens of “Who else do I need to involve to achieve these goals?” “Who do I need to know to hit that goal throughout the year?”
- They’re motivated by those connections with other people. They should look at how they can build that into their goal setting because those relationships are going to give them energy and motivate them.
Strategic Thinking Strengths Domain
- This domain is wired to take in information, process that information, and make decisions. They have high strengths like Learner, Input, and Strategic.
- They’re making sure reflection happens first, to then propel them towards visioning for the future, what could be, and then building that pathway from what was to what could be. They’re naturally wired to see some of those paths forward. Use that in goal setting!
- Not a person who naturally sees a path forward? Sit down with someone who is and ask for help. Ask for help coming up with strategies to hit your goals so that we can all lean into the strengths of other people.
These tips from Caitlin can help those who have top strengths in these domains, or people who identify with one if you don’t know your top strengths!
Caitlin recognizes that we’ve all probably gotten a bit shell-shocked from goal setting, and understandably so. She reminds us that it shouldn’t be “forcing a round peg into a square hole.” Get rid of anything in goal setting that isn’t motivating you or stressing you out! Caitlin reiterates, “there’s a huge amount of grace in goal setting.” She wants everyone to be able to identify their areas of natural talent by looking for the things that give them energy, and then lean into them. Once you’ve found a goal setting approach that works for you, here are some of Caitlin’s tips for how to effectively follow through with those goals:
- Goals are not all or nothing.
- Track your progress. If you don’t meet a monthly goal you’ve set within the year, remember, it’s not a failure, it’s just an adjustment.
- Check-in on your goals. Put your goals where you’ll see them.
- Don’t wait until the last day of the month to see where you’re at on your monthly goal. Give yourself that progress report.
- Involve others in your goal
- If your personal goal involves a team, whether that’s at work or at home, involve your team and the team goal. This helps with follow-through because you’re getting those cheers from the sidelines.
- Give yourself grace and flexibility as you check in with your goals!
Big thanks to Caitlin Kissee for sharing her knowledge and insights with us on all things goal setting! We hope you can utilize her tips for goals in your personal and professional life in 2022.
The SGF Insider podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts – subscribe today! Join us on the third Thursday of each month for the “Plugged In” episodes sponsored by American National Insurance.