When creating your strategic plan, it’s important to include goals that you can work towards. In a lot of ways, goals are like turning points in your business. When a goal is met, it means you’ve reached a new height in your business, which sometimes requires important decisions and actions to be taken to grow your business further or take it into a brand-new direction.
And possibly most importantly, setting goals encourages the entire team to come together to beat those goals. Goals create drive for the entire company and help push the team to meet their potential and exceed expectations.
But let’s level set. Just creating any goal won’t achieve the desired effect you want. You should make sure they are realistic and attainable, while also being strategic.
When creating your goals, ask yourself these questions:
- Is the goal relevant? The temptation is to get busy setting a goal without asking and answering the important question, “Why?” Why is this goal important? What will it mean for the growth of my company? Without this initial discipline, you may end up setting goals that don’t align to the company’s long-term vision or priorities. You could end up being busy without being productive. We’ve learned that priority driven goals are relevant.
- Is this goal realistic? With the current team and resources, can I achieve this goal? Look carefully at where you are in the company’s life cycle and the culture you’re working in. Don’t set goals that don’t make sense for where you are. Set goals that will help you reach the point where those dream goals are achievable. At the same time, be sure that set goals that will stretch people, thereby allowing them the opportunity to achieve more than they might initially think. Also, establishing a realistic time frame is critical. Be clear about deadlines, resources, and capabilities.
- What could prevent me from achieving this goal? It will be of no surprise that you will stumble on some hurdles and face some challenges both inside and outside of the organization. Your strengths may even unveil a weakness. This is the point where leaders define reality and honestly evaluate what can impede or maybe even stop you from achieving the goal. A good SWOT exercise can help everyone face the reality, and then allow you to honestly establish a plan that ensures success.
- What are the action steps, milestones, and accountabilities to achieve this goal? Setting a goal without coming up with a plan to achieve it is like setting yourself up for failure. Take time to ensure a goal is met by figuring out what needs to happen to turn it into reality. Two key components are measurements and accountability. Metrics are a tool to help you measure successes to celebrate and reveal deterrents to correct. As we’ve mentioned in the previous blog, “the core of accountability is commitment; a willingness to be held accountable and hold others accountable.”
- You’ve met the goal, now what? First, celebrate! (Don’t forget this.) Then you have a choice: stagnate or move forward. Our guess is that you want to take it to the next level. Since you have a proven pattern of achieving your goals that work, the next step is to repeat the process. Implement the plan again by aligning to the long-term vision. No matter the vision, ensure you accomplish by planning and executing the plan.
- If this goal is not met, how do I rebound? Not reaching your goal is not the end of the world. It just means you have more to learn. Evaluate your mistakes. Look at what worked (celebrating the smaller wins) and what didn’t. Then set a more achievable goal next time. The worst thing you can do is just ignore it. Einstein words are true, “Insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting the same result.” Therefore, we need to learn from our mistakes. Analyze the root cause and spend the time asking the tough questions: What didn’t we anticipate? Did someone drop the ball on an assignment? Were there a series of poor decisions? Was the wrong person held accountable for a task? Is the wrong person on the team?
Asking yourself these six questions can help you set goals that allow your company to reach new heights. But if you still need some help setting those goals and coming up with ones that will be effective long-term, consider hiring a business consultant and they will ensure you not only have great goals, but beat them as well!
At Nexecute, we are willing to do just that. In fact, we go above and beyond. We’re more than just business consultants. We become a part of your business, and use specific processes of our own to help you reach your potential. In fact, The Momentum Accelerator is perfect for a business that needs obtainable goals.
Stay tuned for the next blog post for the third reason in Why You Need Trusted Business Consultants where we discuss the importance of Leadership Development.