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Professional Development Goals. Where do you begin?

Posted By The 2016-2017 NALS Board, Thursday, February 16, 2017

Professional Development GoalsThe November 1981 issue of Management Review contained a paper by George T. Doran called There's a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management's Goals and Objectives. It discussed the importance of objective goals and the difficulty in setting them.

The SMART method can be applied to setting professional development goals. SMART is a mnemonic device for remembering five characteristics of a desirable goal. The exact word that corresponds with each letter varies, but a common variant is:

  • Specific –  What are you going to do? Why is this important? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
  • Measurable –   If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Establish a concrete criteria for measuring progress.
  • Attainable –   You will feel a little stretched, but with real commitment you should be able to do this!
  • Realistic –   Be clear on how what you’re doing is going to benefit you. It will go a long way to keep you motivated.
  • Timely –   By when? “Someday” is not an answer. Establish an end date. Hold yourself to it.

As the economy fluctuates and business priorities change, funding for employee professional development is often the first to be cut. It is no secret professional development allows us, as employees, to function more efficiently and prepares us for future roles.

NALS continues to recognize the importance of professional development and we’re very excited to offer a new way for you to have access to the wealth of knowledge our membership holds. The Ed on Demand Task Force is diligently working on an NALS 2017 Virtual Leadership Course and Education Series. You are now able to invest in yourself and your career whenever it is convenient for YOU. Our goal is to equip you, our members, with the skills to keep up with the changing trends in the legal support profession, perfect your current skills, learn new skills to align yourself with new job opportunities, and learn tips and tricks to make your NALS chapter more successful.


Dale Smith Thomas, our keynote speaker at the 2016 NALS Murfreesboro Conference, very clearly advised, “Any goal that isn’t written down is a wish.” Having a place where you can create a list of things you want to accomplish, track your progress, and hold yourself accountable is the recipe for success! Now that you know what you want, let us help you get there. Register today for NALS’ first ever online leadership course and education series and take the first step to reaching your professional development goals!






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