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Are You Eating Your Soup With a Fork?

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Setting Goals at Work

I was asked this question by my manager during my second year as a recruitment consultant. I was running a labour hire desk in London and I was "flat out" all the time. I started at 7am finished at 6:30pm every day. I had the highest office KPI`s week in and week out and I was working hard. I was doing ok but the results in did not reflect the effort I was putting in. This question and analogy stuck with me over the years and I often reflect back on it. My manager explained that activity without strategy, purpose and a defined outcome is like eating soup with a fork. “You keep very busy, but you stay very hungry”.

As consultants we are driven by KPI`s but also by our own desire to keep busy. We may think that we have greater purpose and it feels good to be able to say” I am flat out” or “snowed under”. Now it is important to apply the maximum effort to achieve your goals but it is also very easy to become very busy without knowing your outcome. We are constantly bombarded with information in today’s world so it has never been more important to focus being more effective and efficient. Tim Ferris is famous for saying that the quality of your life and the success of your business depends on the quality of the questions that you ask. Here are a few questions that may be helpful to ask as a recruitment consultant. 

  • What is my outcome for today, this week, this quarter, this year?
  • Is what I am doing right now bringing me closer to my outcome?
  • Is it working? If not, why not?
  • Is now the best time to be doing what I am doing right now?
  • Why am I meeting this candidate / client?
  • Why should this client want to work with me?
  • What if I …… (fill in the blank)?

Focus on asking yourself quality questions every day. Get better at setting goals and get rid of the unnecessary white noise and you may find yourself becoming more effective and less stressed.  Delivering an outcome that makes a difference and having fun along the way is after all why we all come to work every day!

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