Loan officers who want to advance in their careers, expand their business, and grow their success need powerful goals to propel that forward progress. Without goals in place, loan officers and other professionals risk stagnation and burnout. In addition to fostering success, goals also help to keep us engaged and interested in our work. Some goals, however, are created better than others. Whether it’s learning a new skill, hitting a sales target, revamping your brand, or getting a promotion, the stronger our goal, the better our chances of achieving it. Read on for some strategies loan officers can use to set effective goals that will bring about the results they desire:
Use a clear guideline
If you want to see real progress, a vague goal won’t cut it. The less defined our goals, the less likely we are to achieve them. For example, consider a loan officer who wants to ‘expand his network’ versus a loan officer who wants to ‘make 3 new connections each week for the next month’. Who is more likely to see results? When you use a system to set your goals, you can help establish parameters that support their achievement. One of the best goal-setting guidelines is the S.M.A.R.T. system. It stands for creating goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound. When loan officers run their goals through this test and make sure they’ve covered each aspect, they set themselves up for success.
Think big, act small, move quick
This strategy comes directly from organizational psychologist, David Van Rooy. Similar to the S.M.A.R.T. method above, the BSQ system (big, small, quick) helps us to ensure that the goals we create best support the results we want to see. Using this system, loan officers ‘think big’ and define a large goal. For example, a loan officer’s initial goal may be to increase their sales by 25% in the next year. Once that big-picture goal is identified, loan officers then need to determine the small actions that will get them there. From making new connections to strengthening their brand to promoting more referrals, any action that builds toward the larger goal should be listed. Make 6 new connections or publish 4 blog posts are both examples of these smaller supporting actions. Finally, what makes this system so effective is the ‘move quick’ piece. For each smaller action you identified in the previous step, you attach a deadline. It adds the accountability, motivation, and clarity that can sometimes be lacking in our goals. When you use this strategy, you’ll have one large goal that is broken down into smaller actionable steps with clear timeframes. It gives you an organized framework and a clear path to achievement.
When creating your goals, it’s also essential to create accountability. Especially when it comes to longer-term goals, if you expect to stick to them, you need to be consistent and focused with your efforts over time. A sense of accountability will keep you working hard when the initial excitement has worn off, when you’re feeling tired, and when you get discouraged. Create a system to track your progress. Whether on paper, on your computer, or on an app on your phone, give yourself a visual overview of your progress. If your goal is to expand your network, and your action for the month is to meet five new people, something as simple as five empty boxes near your calendar can help remind you of how much work you have left and how much time you have to do it. Each time you make a new connection, you can check a box. Systems like this can provide conducive pressure when more work is needed, and they can also give an empowering sense of accomplishment when you see progress being made.
Identify milestones to celebrate
Whether it’s the completion of these smaller actions you’ve identified or a few markers of progress on the way to achievement, noting some celebration-worthy milestones when you first create your goal is a great strategy to maintain motivation and morale, especially with larger goals. It’s even a smart idea to note how you’ll celebrate or reward yourself. These added incentives can give us something that feels attainable to work towards. The boost of positive energy we get from reaching a milestone can propel us forward to the next one, getting us that much closer to our end goal. Striving to tackle a large goal isn’t easy work. It’s important to reward yourself along the way to keep stress levels down and motivation high.
If you’re focused on achievement, it’s not just about setting goals but also about how you set them. The more effort and care you put into creating your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. Loan officers can use the strategies above to amplify achievement and accelerate progress towards their goals.