4 Ways to Gamify Your Goals

4 Ways to Gamify Your Goals

Gamify. It’s the new buzzword in online circles. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically adapting game design elements and principles into something that isn’t necessarily game related. Do we need to be that entertained? Even normal tasks must be gamified? ūüôā

If you’re anything like me, some goals can seem overly daunting. Others can be simply mundane. Using gamification can help break those daunting objectives into something more manageable and turn those everyday tasks into something a bit more fun.

We tend to pursue what we enjoy, right? For some, the act of setting and maintaining/pursuing goals can be fun in and of iteslef. For others, it can seem overly difficult. So, I thought I’d try to offer some ways that you could make the process more fun.

SET UP YOUR SYSTEM

  • View your goal-achieving as a game.¬†I tend to take things too seriously. Although I love to have fun, there’s some things that can really stress me out. Goals should not be one of those. They should be things we enjoy doing and achieving. Yes, they will be challenging, but we should like the ones we attempt to complete. Think about setting up your future plans as a game. Games typically have a way to accumulate points, levels when you get to certain objectives, and prizes you achieve as you win.
  • Create a point system for your goals.¬†Think about the kind and amount of points you want to assign to each goal. Short-term goals would receive fewer points. Long-term or bigger goals would receive more points. Once you hit a certain number, then you stop and celebrate (see below.)
  • Leveling up. As you achieve certain goals, you make the game harder. Each time you accumulate a set amount of points, you get to level up. When you improve and level up, the “prizes” get bigger and the levels get more challenging (more points required to Level Up.) Here’s an idea for how to establish the levels and points:
    • Level 1 (0 – 99 points) – Goal Starter
    • Level 2 (1000 – 1199 pts.) – Goal Getter
    • Level 3 (1200 – 1499 pts.) – Goal Commander
    • Level 4 (1500 – 1999 pts.) – Goal Master
    • Daily tasks = 1-2 points
    • 2-week goals = 10 points on¬†completion
    • 30 day goals = 25 points on completion
    • 90-day goals = 100 points on completion

SPECIFY THE STAKES

  • Raise the bar.¬†There’s no fun in achieving something easy or within your comfort zone. Where’s the fun in that? Make sure you set goals that are risky and outside your comfort zone.You might need to rethink how you set your goals.
  • Decide what you will risk. I’m not talking about gambling here, but how can you make your goals riskier? How will you push yourself outside of your comfort zone to achieve something that is difficult?
  • Determine what the rewards will be. The greater the risk and challenge, the greater the reward needs to be. It doesn’t have to be a monetary reward, but it can be. Reward yourself with extra time with your wife or kids, for example. Or reward yourself with a personal day to do something you enjoy. Decide what you will earn for each level. The more you Level Up, the more the reward should be.

CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS

This is something that many people forget when setting goals. You need to celebrate your wins – big and small. Some people may celebrate their big successes, but the small milestones are just as important.

  • Map out WHEN you’ll celebrate. At what point of achievement will you celebrate? Again, you could set a certain level of points where you’ll celebrate once you hit it. Or, you could celebrate at the completion of each goal. Be careful that you don’t wait too long or make these celebration points too difficult to achieve. Plus, you can always adjust your system as you go if necessary.
  • Line up HOW you’ll celebrate.¬†Before you start your goals, I would determine how you will celebrate the completion of each “level” or points, whatever you’ve already decided. Then, stick to it. It’s easy to blow past your milestones and postpone the celebration. But, it’s important for your morale to take time and acknowledge what you’ve accomplished. Again, it doesn’t have to cost money, and it doesn’t have to be something grand. The importance is that you take time to recognize your¬†wins.

SELECT YOUR SUPPORT CREW

Alright, this is where it could really get fun and motivating, especially if you have a team. If not, encourage your friends to join in the fun.

  • Challenge each other. Gamifying your goals can be fun on your own, but what if you got a few friends involved? Your goals don’t have to be the same, and you don’t even have to have the same system. The point is to encourage each other and help each other achieve more.
  • Keep each other accountable. There’s a lot of accountability in telling someone else what you want to accomplish. Form a Facebook Group for your team to stay connected. You and others can post when goals have been achieved, and you can encourage and support each other when the going gets tough.
  • Celebrate wins together.¬†Whether you do this as an online group or in person, make sure to recognize people when they hit their goals. Sometimes it’s easier to celebrate someone else’s achievements than our own. It’s also motivating when we see others accomplishing their goals. We can get¬†an extra push of motivation.

However you decide to set goals for the new year, be sure that they are goals that you really want to achieve and line up with your vision for your life’s direction. Life is too short to pursue things that don’t really matter. Take some time before the beginning of next year and work on your goals – whether you choose to gamify them or not.

How will you make your goals more engaging and fun this next year? If you choose to gamify your goals – let me know. I’d love to see what you create.¬†

Take Time For What Really Matters

Take Time For What Really Matters

As we come to the close of another year, there are a lot of things that compete for our attention. Shopping for presents, attending Christmas or holiday parties, preparing for family and office gatherings. The list seems to go on and on. Though we seek to spend time with family, even the busy-ness of the season (which is supposed to be fun and relaxing) can often be filled with stress and headaches.

I’m sure you have heard¬†(from me, even) that now is the perfect time to be planning for next year. It’s true, I started setting goals and thinking about what I want to accomplish next year. I also take time to reflect on the past year: where I did well and areas I’d like to improve.

Just this morning though, I wanted to pause and encourage you (and myself) to carve out time for what really matters. I can easily get wrapped up in all the planning and scheming for next year’s goals, for scheduling and thinking about holiday gatherings and kids’ activities we have to attend¬†and forget the things that really matter to me.

Just recently, I spoke with 2 business owners and their stories are very similar. They are in completely different businesses (even vastly different industries), yet one thing is the same. They both have marriages that ended and at least one has kids that now have to split time between two homes. Their businesses are probably not the only thing to blame for the failed marriages; however, one of them is a direct result of spending too much time traveling and out of the country.

My Family Inspires Me

This holiday season, whatever you believe or dream or desire, make sure you make time for what matters most. For me, it’s my family. I have a wife and 2 awesome kids that continue to inspire me.

There are times that I am away from home, but my goal is to make that time less and less. I love to travel but I also want to make that a reality for my family. There are times I must be away from them, but I also dream of traveling with them.

Community Keeps Me Grounded

We have a great network of friends where we live and continually look for ways to increase our local connections. One thing we enjoy is to invite families over and have dinner together. This seems to be a lost art form of building community.

We find that we are in the minority of people who do this. Most families (I assume) are either too busy or too tired to invite people over. There is some value in online connections, but there is far greater value in face-to-face connections.

Kids Need More of You (Not More Stuff)

If you’re a parent, let me encourage you to give the gift of your time this season to your kids. Today, the morning news mentioned¬†a phenomenon called “toy guilt.” This is what parents feel when they can’t get that new trendy toy for their kids. (Do we need to call the “wah”mbulance? ūüôā .)

I’ve been a parent for over 12 years, and I can say that our kids have never had the “latest and greatest’ when it comes to toys. (They are not suffering, I can assure you.) We don’t focus on stuff. They do get presents, but we don’t go overboard and usually wait until things are either on sale or are a couple of generations removed (especially for tech-related gifts).

Make Margin for More Life

As I look forward to the new year, my thoughts center around how I can make space for more of the above. How can I have a greater impact on my kids and family? How much room can I make for them in my life?

What kinds of ways will I foster greater connections with people around me? In my neighborhood and with our friends?

How can I set the kinds of goals that take all of those things into account and build the kind of business that not only works for me but works for those around me?

This season, I want to think about those things. I encourage you to consider, too, the kind of impact you want to have with those you love and what matters most to you. Then, set the kinds of goals that both you and those closest to you would be proud of.

What goals will you set this year? How do those goals match what kind of impact you want to make on others? Are the two congruent? 

Why You Need to Rethink Your Goals

Why You Need to Rethink Your Goals

It’s crazy to believe that there are only just a few weeks left in 2016. I’m curious.

How did you do with your goals this year?

How did your team do with their goals?

As for me, I hit some goals WAY earlier than expected and am still working towards others. For this next year, I’m doubling down. I’ve already started planning for my goals for next year, with one big exception.

I’m changing the way I’m doing my goals, and I invite you to join me on this new little adventure.¬†The change is¬†based off of some things that I’ve learned from Michael Hyatt, one of the nation’s most influential bloggers and leadership experts.

Be Intentional.

For 2017, I want to be more thoughtful about the way I set and reach my goals. Goals don’t just happen. You’ve probably heard the saying that “a goal without a plan is just a dream.”

It’s true. To reach your goals, you need a plan. Like I mentioned before, I’m starting my plan early this year. I’m already beginning that thought process of what I’m going to achieve next year.

Be Specific.

Most goals are way too specific. I’ve worked with groups on goal-setting, and this is a common problem. Goals that are set are way too broad, have no deadline, and are not broken down into specific steps that are achievable.

You have to be specific to reach your goals. “Be a better leader” won’t cut it. You need to be more specific. “Read 1 leadership book each month” is a better goal.

Be Risky.

I really like to challenge myself when it comes to goal-setting. There is a fine line between risky and unattainable. However, this year I set a goal to reach 10,000 visitors to my blog by year end, and I hit that goal just a little over the half-way point in the year. I knew it was risky, but I also wanted to push my limits and see what would happen.

Be Accountable.

Find a way to set goals with others and hold each other accountable. Don’t get down on yourself or others when you slip. You are there for encouragement to keep each other going.

Who is someone you trust that will help you achieve your goals. Begin now to make a list and write some names down of people you will contact and ask them to set and achieve some goals with you.

If you struggle with setting and reaching goals or if you struggle with helping your team set their goals, then¬†there’s hope. I want to offer you a chance to get in on a new goal-setting challenge¬†that I’m offering starting next week. Best part – it’s free (at least for now)!

You will also get free PDF downloads of the planning tools that I’ve just created for my own goal-setting for this next year. (I Just ask that you don’t duplicate it and give it to someone else – feel free to print copies for your personal use, though. Better yet, direct them to my site where they can sign up for the challenge and get them for free too! Boom!)

It starts next Tuesday, so if you’re up for the challenge, watch¬†for more details soon. And be expecting¬†more ways to rethink your goals over the upcoming weeks. There will be some exciting things I’ll be sharing.

When it comes to setting goals, what is your biggest struggle? What is the hardest part for you to achieve your goals?

5 Leadership Lessons You Can Learn from a Micro-Manager

5 Leadership Lessons You Can Learn from a Micro-Manager

When I was in my early twenties, within the space of about three weeks I lost my job, my grandmother passed away (her funeral was on my birthday, no less), my dog died, and I became fairly ill. It was like a country song gone bad.

During that season, I worked for a guy that was a micro-manager. I was in a job that stretched me, for sure. But I was willing to work on the things that I didn’t know, and I was committed¬†to do whatever I needed to make things work with my boss.

No matter your situation there are¬†leadership¬†lessons¬†that you can learn. Regardless of circumstances, there are always “take-away’s.” These are lessons you can learn if you give it a little thought and reflect on your experiences.

Here are five such lessons I learned from my experience working with a micro-manager:

Be willing to work on your differences

One of my takeaways from that experience is to always be willing to work on the things that make you different. Everyone has unique gifts and strengths to bring to the table.

What are your strengths? What are your boss’s strengths? What are your subordinate’s strengths? What differences are there? How can your differences complement one another?

If you sit down and go through these, chances are you’ll find that your strengths and even differences complement each other and, if you use them correctly, can really move your team from being so-so to being awesome!

Hire the right people for the right position.

Knowing about strengths and personality can also help on the front end. Before you ever hire someone, it would serve you well to perform a personality test and a strengths assessment. Using these two things can tell a boss or hiring manager up front if they are the right person for the position you’re hiring for (and, just as importantly, if they’re not).

There are a number of professionals that use the Stengthsfinder 2.0 assessment for hiring. Leadership guru and virtual mentor, Michael Hyatt, is one of them.

Give people the freedom to do their jobs.

Once you hire a person, you’ve just given that person your endorsement. If you feel a need to micro-manage, then the insecurity is really with yourself. So, back off and let the person do what you’ve hired them to do.

Give your new hire time to adjust to the new position, responsibilities, and culture. If you discover they need additional training for technical skills, then provide

If you discover that someone is not as proficient as they first seemed? You have at least two options:

  • Provide more training.
  • Let them go and rehire that position.

The issue with the second option is that it usually will cost you more to re-hire than to invest in some training.

Develop your people as needed.

Every company should have a training culture. The best companies know that it is easier and cheaper to train staff than to rehire for those positions.

Few people come into a new job or position knowing everything they need to know. Whether it’s a matter of training on company culture and process or learning new hard skills, there is a learning curve for every job. (Even for people that move within a company, different departments can even have their own unique culture within the overall¬†company culture.)

Investing in training leads to more engagement and better retention of employees. Commit to a culture of training and development.

Work on Yourself as the Leader

There are a number of companies that have a great training culture…initially. Does your company continue to develop and encourage the development of its employees beyond the first few weeks or months?

Amazon’s training includes a 1-month initial training program as well as¬†prepays 95% of employee’s tuition for in-demand fields.

Bonobos, a leading retail company, has multiple offerings to train their employees in leadership, management and customer service.

Randstad US not only offers programs in management, leadership, communication, and presentation skills, but also offers its employees both mentoring and coaching services.

As you may have gathered, my boss was not committed to working on things as I was, and I was let go. It was disappointing, but I definitely did learn a lot from that experience.

There are some things that both of us could have done to really make that situation better. I have learned to be a better communicator. The pastor I worked with could have committed to working on the relationship and helping me get better instead of asking me to leave immediately.

It may not have been the right position for me anyway; however, that’s why it’s so important to know more about people on the front end of hiring. I definitely believe that every company, every boss, and every hiring manager could benefit from doing their due diligence before they hire anyone. And every company can engage their employees by providing training to get them familiar with the company culture and continue to develop them as leaders and people.

What does your company do before hiring someone? What kind of on-going training do you provide? 

[photo credit: Nosnibor137 and Bigstock Photo.]

Three Secrets of a Super-Fun Team

Three Secrets of a Super-Fun Team

Have you ever wondered what makes some teams great and some, well, duds? So have I. I’ve been on teams that work really well together and are downright¬†a blast to be a part of. I’ve been on others where I couldn’t wait to go home at the end of the day. For many people, it may be a mixture of both fun and frustrating.

In working with a number of different teams, I’ve noticed a common thread among the ones who work really well together. There are certain characteristics that make these teams click. Lack of any of them, however, can cause any number of team dysfunctions.

Super-fun teams are good at collaboration

Fun teams work well together and have an atmosphere of trust and cooperation. If you’ve ever experienced working with people you don’t¬†trust, you know how stifling¬†that can be. And, it just takes one person to ruin an environment of trust.

You would think trust takes a lot of time to develop. The fact is, trust can be developed very quickly and that foundation can continue to be built upon. According to Stephen Covey, there are 13 behaviors you can us to develop what he calls “the speed of trust.”

Collaboration is a by-product of a high-trust environment. You can see this in those with whom you work. You tend to work well with those you trust and avoid those you don’t. The partnerships you seek are with people you know you can trust – for obvious reasons.

As you look at your team – how would you rate your level of collaboration?

Super-fun teams exhibit effective communication

Teams and co-workers communicate all the time. But is it effective? Have you moved forward with a project, only to find out at the end, that you weren’t given all the critical details?

When your team communicates effectively, it will increase productivity and significantly effect your bottom line, as well as overall team morale. People will feel more engaged and a critical part of the process.

What is the level of effective communication within your team?

Super-fun teams know when it’s time for celebration

I’m a part of a team that loves to celebrate. Whether it’s someone’s birthday, or a new team member comes on board or leaves, we celebrate. (And, no, we’re not celebrating the fact they’re leaving but going on to new adventures!)

The celebration usually centers around food, as well as the person we are celebrating. There is eating, laughing, conversation, eating, more laughing, sometimes singing, maybe a game or two (but not always), eating, frivolity, and did I mention eating? ūüôā Usually there is a theme, and it’s based on something that the person we’re celebrating likes.

We do our best to not talk about work (for the most part we are very successful). It’s not time to check in on business, but it is time for a party. We have lots of fun and don’t worry about work.

So, you may know these things already. The question then becomes, how do we make the above a reality? One of the best ways I know of to increase all of these is through a combination of icebreakers and team building activities.

That’s why I wrote a brand new book of these kind of exercises called, 10 Super Fun Team Icebreakers and Challenges. In it, you’ll find 10 team building activities that have never been printed anywhere else.

super fun team ebook

These are activities that I’ve spent the last few months creating and designing for teams just like yours. Whether you need better collaboration, communication, or you just want a day of celebration, these exercises will help your team, all based on the superhero theme.

You can use these activities one at a time, or you can group them together for a Super-Fun team adventure. Or do a half-day event by picking and choosing a few of the challenges. You decide.

Here’s¬†a sneak peek at the book.

Right now, you can order the book for only $10.¬†It not only includes the activities, but also has suggestions for how to use the book, instructions for how to facilitate each activity, and also (my personal favorite) a “Deep Dive” section where you can take the activity further and dig into the challenges even more.

If you end up buying the book and do some of the activities, please let me know. I’d love to know how it goes – send pictures, email me with how it went – who knows, maybe you and your team will even be featured on the blog or my social media accounts (with your permission, of course!)