“We’re so bounded by time, by its order.” That phrase instantly became one of my all-time favorite quotes ever since I watched Arrival in 2016. 

Though Arrival is not precisely a tale about achieving engineering goals, the fascinating storyline of how we perceive and depend on both time and language connects well with the concept of setting the groundwork for conquering targets in the professional landscape. Hence, this felt like a unique opportunity to plug it in before talking to you about the actual tools available to achieve your goals as an engineer.

Let’s start at the top and allow me to introduce you to two proven strategies to climb the success ladder:

1. Reshape your goal-setting process with the SMART approach

The first piece of advice I want to share with you focuses on moving from vagueness to well-defined territory. One of the most useful approaches to implement for that purpose is the SMART goal framework. 

Here is a methodology that allows you to define your goal-setting process with tangible metrics to get those good results. Because of that, it forces you to change your thinking toward achieving an end. 

SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound. 

By defining those five metrics when designing a goal, individuals and teams can create concrete targets with meaningful, attainable, and realistic characteristics. 

Let’s run an exercise:

Your prime goal is to be the new department head. This is a common aspiration for most professionals. However, as stated, it falls into the category of an unbounded and generic goal. 

To make it reachable, apply the SMART framework:  

  • Specific: List the skills or experiences required to be department head. Have you met them all? Should you put in work to be eligible?  
  • Measurable: Foresee the training and certifications needed to bridge the competence gap 
  • Achievable: Assess whether or not you have enough resources to collect such skills and expertise in under a year. And answer objectively other questions like: Is the position open?
  • Relevant: Why does your goal matter? It is poignant at this point because I’m ready to face new challenges and would love to get new financial benefits. Then, assess if you are actually prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with the role and other variables. For instance, is it a good time for you? Will it jeopardize other plans? Are you the better-suited person for it?
  • Time-bound: Set realistic time frames to accomplish the specific goal, accounting for every step you have to go through to make it happen. For example, a year, six months, etc. 

Afterward, your goal is to be department head in a year, after you meet all the qualifications (skills, certifications, etc.) for the open position. 

Organizations and individuals seeking to make profound changes in their professional and personal lives frequently use the SMART goal framework as a management strategy. It’s definitely a great way to benchmark your performance.

2. Fuel your potential adopting these power traits 

Besides knowing how to build well-founded goals, to reach your goals as an engineer, you must develop these desirable skills:

  • Be disciplined, studious, and observant of your environment
  • Work on your consistency and commitment levels
  • Practice resiliency by incorporating flexibility and adaptability into your processes
  • Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous when the situation calls for it
  • Trust your gut.
  • Keep tabs on your performance. Find improvement spots, work on them, and reassess, accordingly. 

You’ll be unbeatable!  

Put these tips into action, and soon you will be taking your engineering career to the next level.

If you wish for more information or need advice, reach out to Verdusco Consulting or message me at: 

  • Raul@VerduscoConsulting.com  
  • 248-622-2850.