Best ways to approach goal-setting

30 November 2018 | Business

Not all goal-setting is equally effective. Learning to set the right goals and learning how to best achieve them takes time, practice and a little bit of guidance. Here are the four tenets of goal-setting that could help:

1. Set concrete goals

Although this may seem like an obvious first step, the importance of identifying concrete goals cannot be overstated. You may have an overarching company mission to, “provide the best driving experience”, and at the same time, you need measurable goals that keep your business moving forward. And once you set a goal like, “Increase product X’s revenue by 10% over the next six months”, what else needs to happen to ensure you achieve this goal? For instance, will you increase your revenue by fixing a bug in the product or by broadening your advertising efforts? Or maybe you need to determine how many new customers you need to secure over the next six months. Setting concrete goals, documenting them and reviewing them periodically can increase your chances of success by up to 95%.

2. Create systems to support your goals

Once you set your goals, implement systems that will help you make continual progress toward them. Consider, for a moment, this traditional New Year’s resolution, “I will lose 10 (or 15, or 20) kilograms”. Many people who make this resolution fail to create daily or weekly systems that keep them on track to meet their goal. Goals without supportive systems that drive progress are generally bound to remain just those goals, not realities.

Imagine that one of your goals is to increase your number of leads or prospective customers. Without a system, you might call 10 people today, five tomorrow, and 20 next Tuesday, vainly hoping to see a bump in your numbers. A better idea might be to implement a lead generation system, whereby you establish an entire pipeline of prospects funnelled from multiple channels, define second and third follow-up procedures, and track the appropriate metrics.

3. Align your resource expenditures with your goals

Like systems, the proper resources must be devoted to activities that align with your goals if you hope to make progress. For example, if your goal is to strengthen your customer retention rate, your frontline team members should not devote the majority of their time to lead generation.

Aligning your resource expenditures with your goals may also mean saying no to some activities. For instance, you may need to set aside several days to contact your existing customers in order to find out what they like or dislike about your product, rather than attending an offsite team-building workshop. Business surveys show that up to 50% of staff time is spent on activities that do not align with company strategy, so ensure you do all you can to devote the right resources to your goals.

4. Ensure your team members on board with your goals

The best goals are not static. Instead, they are dynamic and reflect a constantly evolving reality. As a result, team members should be kept aware of changes so they, in turn, can change the activities they use to support these goals.

One way to keep your team members up to date is to define concrete milestones. This gives your staff near-term goals to achieve. Measurable progress is a powerful motivator and daily, weekly and monthly goals can lead to a sense of accomplishment that encourages your team members to continue striving toward your business objectives.

You can also target specific items to track. This will allow you to gain a “big picture” and quantitative view of your progress as a whole, and it can help your staff members track their individual progress. For example, if you set a vague goal like, “Sell as much as you can”, this will mean different things to different people. One team member might be pleased to sell nine widgets, while another will work overtime to sell 30. Setting common goals across your company provides your entire team with tangible numbers to aim for.

Ultimately, your goals are only as effective as the systems, resources, and people driving progress. With a plan that encompasses the four aspects of goal-setting discussed above, you can better implement initiatives that will lead to business success.

-www.forbes.com

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