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How to use SPIRIT goals?

A lot of people have been through the process of defining goals. These can be both personal goals and career goals.

Some of you may have written it down and some may have it in the back of their mind. We all have things that we aspire to reach in life.

This article describes goal setting within the context of accountability, using SPIRIT goals to help get you there.

For people to be accountable, they need to know what they are going to be accountable for! Two ways to do this are to set goals with employees and to communicate expectations in a structured way.

The SPIRIT model outlines the steps to help you define your goals.

Each objective should be broken down into several small, achievable goals that will help you get where you want to go.

Good goals should have SPIRIT!


Be specific about what you want or don’t want to achieve. The result should be tangible and clearly described.

“Finish a project” is ambiguous, whereas “100% completion of the warehouse reorganization” is specific.


Reward yourself at different points in the goal, particularly if it’s long term. If your goal is to develop a set of standard operating procedures to make your employees more independent and accountable, for example, you might have a small reward for each milestone that you complete and a larger reward at the end.


The goal must be something that you want to do. If your line manager wants you to work on a specific project which you have no interest in, you will find it difficult to engage. Find something – even if it is a small thing – to anchor yourself to the project and make it yours. For example, if you enjoy working with that particular team of people, or you will get to attend a conference in a different city, or perhaps the project itself makes the rest of your work easier to do, you can connect to it on an individual level.


Review your progress periodically. Does the goal make sense? Are you stuck? Do you need to adjust certain parts of it?


Frame the goal positively. Make it fun to accomplish. You could make a poster of the result, frame it, and post it on the wall. Visual representations always work best.


Give yourself a deadline for achieving the goal. If it’s a big goal, split it into milestones and give yourself a deadline for each milestone.

Click here to read related articles on accountability:

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