Carefully Crafted on December 27

3-2-1: A 2012 Goal-Setting Process

As we wind down 2011, it’s only natural to reflect on the past year and set some goals for the new year. At work, perhaps you’ve done end-of-the-year reviews. Personally, I hate reviews. I’ll tell you in “real time” if you’re doing something well or not! No need to wait for an arbitrary date in December. That said, I do think some reflection and goal-setting is in order.

The past few years, I’ve set goals for myself and my company, but this year, I wanted to work with my team to reflect on their accomplishments, identify areas for improvement and to set their own goals. As an employee, take a two-pronged approach to creating work-related goals: 1) Establish specific milestones or achievements that you personally want to accomplish; 2) Identify ways that you can contribute to the overall growth of the company.

With that in mind, I developed the 3-2-1 review/goal setting process. We’re following this approach at Geben, and I’d invite you to take our model and tweak it for your own use.

3-2-1: 2012 Goal Setting

Create a new document to list the following 3-2-1 items.

  • 3 greatest accomplishments (yours … what you’re most proud of during this past year)
  • 3 areas where you can improve
  • 3 personal (but still work-related) goals, including a timeline and what you’ll do to hit those marks


  • 2 company-related goals (what you can do to help the company grow, be more efficient, improve our work product, etc. Basically whatever you can do that will help the company be better.)
  • 2 things you need from your boss/superior/mentor  to help you achieve your goals (personal and/or company-related). Note: You have to tell your boss how she/he can help you. Tell them you’ve set some goals, but that you need some assistance. I bet they’ll be impressed that you took the time to set goals and will be happy to help you get from Point A to Point B.


  • 1 thing you’re most looking forward to in the new year.

Keep this document handy (Google Docs, Dropbox or Evernote are helpful here!). Frequently review it so your areas for improvement stay top-of-mind, and you maintain focus on your goals. Remember, this doesn’t have to be a solo project. Ask your boss or co-workers to help — whether that’s providing mentorship or just keeping you accountable. Don’t just make a New Year’s Resolution because it’s the thing to do in January. Instead, set a goal. Then, create and implement a process to accomplish the desired outcomes.

Want to give the 3-2-1 process a spin? Feel free to share some of your goals or what you’re most looking forward to in the comments. Let’s help each other grow and succeed in 2012!


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  1. […] 3-2-1: A 2012 Goal-Setting Process ( […]

  2. […] 3-2-1: A 2012 Goal-Setting Process ( […]

  3. […] Heather Whaling of prTini suggests a “3-2-1″ process: 3 greatest accomplishments, areas to improve, personal goals; 2 company-related goals, things you need from your superior to achieve these goals; and 1 thing you’re most looking forward to in the new year. […]

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