Everyone has goals, some times they are stated explicitly, and in other cases they are not. However, all the information currently available suggests that written goals are far more likely to be successfully accomplished than those hidden away in your mind. So, rule number one is write down your goals, if they are truly important.
Use an organized process for goal setting. Most business people have some knowledge of the SMART Goal process.
SMART stands for:
Specific – What is the specific goal?
Measurable – How do you intend to measure success and progress toward the goal?
Attainable – Do you have all the tools/knowledge needed to reach the goal or will you need help from someone else?
Relevant – Is the goal important and is now the time to address it?
Timely – What is your target timeframe for completion? When will you work on it?
This is a useful framework for understanding and organizing meaningful goals. Stating a problem properly is often the most important part of the goal setting process. By using the SMART Goal process, you will find it much easier to accomplish major goals. These are often referred to as BHAG’s (Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals) or Champagne Moments. The Alternative Board (TAB) uses these goals setting techniques to help peer board members be successful.
Often, I find that big goals are not accomplished because the framework for success has not been established. It is useful to start by asking: How will you feel is you fail to accomplish your goal? What is the downside for failure? (If there is little or no downside, then you will likely be lacking in motivation. You should choose a different BHAG.)
Things that get measured and/or reported upon are much more likely to be accomplished. Measure frequently and you are much more likely to make progress and reach your goal. A secondary way to make continuous progress is to engage an “accountability partner”. This is someone who will hold your feet to the fire. Think about it: Are you more likely to go for that morning run in the cold & wet (to lose weight and keep in shape) if you are meeting a partner? Often times we are more reluctant to disappoint someone else than we are ourselves. Part of the TAB meeting process is the accountability to fellow board members.
Finally, if you have a really big goal that may span a significant period of time, you must break the goal up into short-term, finite tasks. For example, if you want to increase your gross profit margin by 5%, you cannot wait and look at your income statement for the first half of the year. If you have made no progress, it now means that you must increase your margins by 10% in the second half of the year to reach your goal. Instead you must look into reducing material costs, minimizing overtime, eliminating scrap, etc. early in the year. Take the time to structure a plan that starts immediately after the goal is set. That way, you will be much more successful in reaching those big goals. Thanks for reading.