How to Unlock Success with Short-term Career Goals & Thinking Styles 

by | Feb 12, 2024

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While walking the intricate path of career development, a short-term career goal can act much like a compass – guiding you to your ultimate destination. Providing light, these small moments of achievement bolster motivation and momentum. Another positive aspect of building short-term goals? Achievability. These smaller, achievable milestones generate confidence and satisfaction. By virtue of this momentum, you stay engaged in your job – sure to be noted by those who matter in your career succession. 

To drive the most out of goal setting, it makes sense to align with the thinking styles and preferences elucidated by Ned Herrmann. One of the many upsides of this approach is the ability to derive personal meaning and satisfaction alongside professional development plans. 

Long Term Goals vs. Short Term Goals  

Long-term goals shape your future. You’ll typically take more than a year to complete these goals, but there’s no strict guideline for what you consider long versus short-term. The important part is that they’re the accumulation of lots of hard work and patience. 

Short-term goals make up your life’s to-do list. You achieve them typically on a day-to-day or monthly basis. Long-Term Versus Short-Term Goals: What You Need to Know ( Importantly, the two are interrelated. Short-term goals pave the way for the long-term. They are both entirely personal – dependent on your sector, your career trajectory and of course – your thinking style

Herrmann’s Thinking Styles: Recognising Individual Differences to Drive Success 

The significance of recognising and respecting individual thinking styles not only drives effective communication and collaboration, but it also allows an individual to be seen for who they are, professionally and personally.  

The Whole Brain® Model, developed by Ned Herrmann, serves as the cornerstone of the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI®). The Whole Brain® Model outlines an array of thinking preferences centered around four distinct quadrants: Analytical (A), Practical (B), Relational (C), and Experimental (D) 

These insights into your thinking preferences can unlock the ways in which to self-motivate and create the kind of short-term goals that will drive career building and self-confidence. Also unlocked, is the power to communicate with and motivate in the way that resonates with the individuals in your team. 

Is there a Secret Code to Short-Term Goal Setting? 

According to research conducted by psychology professor Gail Matthews at Dominican University of California, there is. This study formed strategies for achieving goals with measurable results. What the findings highlighted was that the group of subjects who reaped the best results followed a specific model:  

  1. Commit to Action. Rather than simply writing down a goal, the group was asked to commit to an action. This included filling out a survey leading them through a thorough thought process on their goals and setting concrete action commitments. They were making a commitment, on paper, to achieve their goal.  
  2. Accountability to Peers. This group had to follow up their concrete goal planning and action commitment by enlisting another person. They needed to send their commitment to a peer, making them more accountable.  
  3. Regular Updates. This group had to update their friend or accountability person weekly, which kept them focused on their progress. 1 The Science Behind Setting Goals (and Achieving Them) ( 

Development and Adaptability 

Short-term career goals play a pivotal role in driving skills development, encouraging and driving you to stay informed about industry trends and tools. This adaptability and openness to change will prove valuable in cultivating a growth mindset for your career to come. By understanding your thinking styles, you gain insights to tailor your development according to your distinctive cognitive preferences. 

For example, an Analytical thinker might set a short-term goal to enhance ability in a specific data analytics tool, aligning with their preference for logical and structured thinking. In contrast, an Experimental thinker may choose to focus on attending workshops that foster creativity and innovative thinking. This customisation ensures that individuals not only expand their skill sets but do so in ways that resonate with their natural cognitive inclinations.

Monitoring and Motivation 

Looking at your career journey through the lens of long-term goals, the way ahead can seem too distant to form a connection to. Intermediate milestones provide guiding lights – linking the journey and allowing you to stay motivated and celebrate the small moments that make up the whole journey. Herrmann’s thinking styles offer a nuanced lens through which individuals can view their progress. 

Next to this? Accountability. Appreciating structured progression, the Practical thinker among us will be motivated by breaking down larger goals into smaller frameworks. Creative challenges and their innate novelty and stimulation are where the Experimental thinkers among us thrive, their motivation inherent in the challenge itself. Understanding your thinking preferences plays heavily into how you are motivated and what short term goals you will derive value from. 

Achieving short-term goals is significantly enhanced by being accountable to peers. Enlisting the support of a trusted companion ensures that your moments of success are celebrated together, providing a valuable confidence boost on your journey. 

Cultivating Problem-Solving Skills 

Short-term goals are problems to be solved, by breaking down a complex long-term achievement you break down something that seems achievable now into smaller parts for analysis. Such activities hone time management as well as clarity and focus. Skills that can be utilised right away and strengthened over time through the iterations of short-term goal achievement. 

As the saying goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.” Small, regular efforts add up. You can think of it as compound interest accruing towards your long-term goals. How To Maintain Focus On Long-Term Goals In A Short-Term World ( Analytical thinkers may set goals focused on refining logical reasoning skills, while Relational thinkers may prioritise goals that enhance collaboration and communication abilities.  

Short-term goals give you the opportunity to sharpen your skills, particularly when it comes to effective decision-making and problem-solving. Engaging with these smaller challenges not only expands your skill sets but also cultivates the conviction needed to take on more significant milestones. The strategic thinking involved nurtures resilience and adaptability—soft skills that also prove valuable as you progress to more senior positions in your career journey. 

Career building, professional development planning, and decision-making all hinge on the significance of short-term career goals. To sustain motivation on this journey, understanding your thinking preferences is key. A journey that can be enhanced by recognising and aligning with individual thinking preferences, tailoring short-term goals for a sustainable and truly meaningful path. 

If you want to learn more about how Whole Brain® Thinking and the HBDI® can help you and your organisation, have a look at how it works here or get in touch and we’ll help you find the right solution.

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