Generally a goal is set by a person or group to achieve an objective, and a time frame of allocated effort is applied to achieve this desired outcome.
An ATOM goal is a small achievable goal, that is time-boxed with outcome-based objectives. These objectives are both meaningful to the goal's audience and you. ATOM goals are similar to atoms; where an atom is the smallest particle of a chemical element that can exist and an ATOM goal is the smallest goal you can meaningfully define.
ATOM is a mnemonic acronym, to be used as a guide in the setting of the micro goal's objectives.
The goals' objectives are set at the correct level, resulting in achievable outcomes.
The goals' objectives are bound to a realistic period of time.
The goals' objectives are based on specific, relevant, and measurable outcomes.
The goals' objectives have meaningful outcomes and a clear understanding of what is required to achieve these objectives.
The following questions can help in defining your ATOM goals.
Can the goal's objectives be achieved with the available resources and knowledge?
Can the goals' objectives be met within the proposed time frame?
Do the goal's objectives produce achievable, specific, relevant, and measurable outcomes?
Do the goal's objectives and outcomes add meaning and value to the goal's audience and you?
Stop... Reflect... Refocus... and Set Goals...
When one comes to the end of their work for a great client, I find it is always good to do a quick retrospective; what has gone well, not so well and how to improve. Then refocus on my growth goals; goals for developing personally and the business (this also includes talking to wise people about my plans).
For example; I currently have a goal of improving my ability to mentor other IT professionals. It's something I enjoy doing with the right person, and recently an ideal candidate reached out with a well-defined area of growth goals they are aiming to achieve.
Today I had a brainstorm with one wise person, she guided and questioned my ideas, resulting in 10 clearly defined goals.
The next step is to convert these into ATOM Goals (my way of defining micro goals to achieve a bigger goal) and find another wise person to validate these.
How do you go about setting your growth goals?