If you’re anything like me, you have read a dozen books on goal setting and still don’t have a good process. Most people think goal setting is done in December by taking out a sheet of paper, writing down all of the things they want to accomplish, getting a big grin on their face because it’s big stuff, and then putting the list in a drawer somewhere. Long about November of the following year, they pull it out, dust it off, and say, “Huh. We accomplished 7 of the 21 items. Not bad.”
That, my friends, is not goal setting! Crumple that up and throw it away. It’s amazing how something that seems so simple can be so complicated. Well, it doesn’t have to be. For me, goal setting is as easy naming the goal and then putting together a list of things that must be done to accomplish that goal. Without the list, you will struggle to reach the goal. In EntreLeadership we teach that goals need to be five things:
- Be Specific
- Be measurable
- Be yours
- Have a time limit
- Be in writing
So, let’s break it down with an extremely simple example. Let’s say we are in your office and your goal is to take me to Ruth’s Chris to be eating dinner by 5:30 p.m.. (I like this example.) What would need to happen? First, we would need to get up, walk to the door, open the door, walk out to the already fueled-up car, open the door and get in, start it up and drive following the already printed-out directions to the restaurant, park the car, open the door and get out, walk to the door, open it and walk in, be seated and order from the waiter. Whew! Now everything is in the restaurant’s hands.
Now, were the goals specific? Absolutely. Were they measurable? Of course. If it takes 20 minutes to get to Ruth’s Chris, and at 5:10 p.m. we’re still in your office, there’s a problem. What if we get in the car and we don’t know where we’re going, or it doesn’t have enough gas to get us there? Our example includes each thing that must happen, so it makes the goal easier to attain. But what we tend to do in our busy lives is have an idea, call in our team, discuss and delegate it, but never set actual goals for it, and then wonder why it didn’t work out as we “planned.”
I know that is way super-simple, but imagine if you did that with your projects. What if you used this style of goal setting for your next product launch? What if you used it to get yourself in shape? No matter what the situation, spend some time on the front-end writing down actual goals so you can be more successful on the back-end. When you do that, the only thing left out of the equation is the unexpected. When you don’t have the goals outlined, the unexpected becomes a crisis on top of all you need to accomplish. When you do have your goals in place, it’s just an inconvenience.
Questions: How well have you done with your goal setting? Will this help you to make your life easier? What other things would you like to see?
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