We’re going to talk about setting business goals today but I’m sure the principles can apply just as easily to setting yourself some personal goals.
How many of you have your business goals written down somewhere that your whole team can access? I’m hoping a lot of you are nodding right now. If you haven’t, how else can you get help to achieve them?
Now most of us start a new year and write down some resolutions, only to find that by the end of the Christmas holidays they’ve been forgotten and you’re just back to life as usual.
So why is this? Writing down your goals isn’t enough - Most likely of all is that you didn’t create a plan – and a goal without a plan is just a wish!
It’s the same in business. You can overwhelm yourself by setting these big goals for the year, but then struggle to work out how on earth you’re going to manage to achieve them. Day to day operations get in the way, customers (god forbid) turn up and take your time, and before you know it, you’re half way through the year and you feel you haven’t achieved anything on your list.
So hopefully today we’ll cover off a few tips which will help you smash your goals in no time.
When setting goals for your business, try to avoid setting overly ambitious goals because they have the potential to make a serious dent in your productivity, and personal and employee morale. At the same time, an overly modest goal would be easily achievable but it might not amount to much change or success in the business. So I like to use the SMART goal approach. That is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
What do you want to do?
How will you know you’ve reached it?
Is it in your power to accomplish it?
Can you realistically achieve it?
When exactly do you want to achieve it?
Think about any resources you need to achieve your goals – look at what you already have, and what you might need.
Your SMART goals need to be effectively communicated with the rest of your team – you can cover off the Why How Who What When with them so they can align their specific goals and activities with the overall business objectives. This is where you cover WHY they are required to do a task, HOW it will help the business in achieving its objectives, WHO is responsible to comply with it, defining WHAT the goal is, and by WHEN it needs to be completed.
If you share your goals, not only are you bringing your team along on the journey, but you’re also making yourself accountable.
Do you often notice friends on social media suddenly announcing a new goal? It might be a fitness regime or study they’re undertaking? This is often their way of saying to you as a friend ‘please hold me accountable to finish this’.
The next step I like to take after I’ve set my goals is breaking them down into tasks. If I have a year to achieve something, it’s sometimes really easy to say to yourself - oh I have ages to do that, I don’t need to start now… Don’t fall into that trap! Break it down into stepping stones - what should I have done by the first quarter? And then after 6 months? And so on. And review them … make sure you’re on track. And if you’re not, don’t lose heart, just revise them. This isn’t an admission of failure, it’s just way to keep yourself motivated to keep going – even if it means it will take a little longer than originally planned. It’s important to remain patient when you are in the pursuit of achieving goals; you must all remember that iconic kiwi ad ‘it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen’. These things take work and trial and error so don’t be too hard on yourself when it doesn’t happen when and how you want it to happen.
That’s absolutely okay – as long you keep moving forward, you’re on your way to success. The worst thing you can do is decide you have failed in quarter one, so therefore you give up!
Ask yourself what you can do right now that will get you closer to your goal – then do it. It doesn’t matter how small it is. Make a phone call, send an email, set a meeting with that customer you’ve been chasing for some time…just do it now. It’s easy to put something off when you think a day or two won’t matter. But if you can put it off today, who’s to say you won’t put it off again tomorrow or the next day? Take action. 5 minutes out of your day right now, is one more thing you can tick off on your plan, and one step closer to success. I’m sure you’ve all had that feeling at the end of the day when you look at your to-do list and feel an enormous sense of satisfaction when you’ve got some tasks crossed off at the end of the day!
So celebrate those small milestones, shout yourself a little reward for ticking off all your to-do list in a day, or hitting a particular milestone on your step to achieving your goals. Make it something you know you’ll look forward to, like treating yourself to dinner out, or buying a nice bottle of wine to share with your team. Celebrating your small wins will keep you and your team excited and motivated, and make the whole experience more enjoyable.
But remember, there are no treats if you don’t hit your milestones!!
So are you all feeling a little more inspired to go out and smash some goals? I hope so. Remember, as Harvey MacKay said “ A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”