Thumbs-up-150x150Goal Setting Could be the Single Most Important Ingredient for True Success

We have seen many changes in the last couple of years at CT. We are focusing on values, goals, and improving processes. We are learning, growing, and providing better service to our clients. We are creating systems and processes that are producing consistency and our team is working together and having fun! There is so much more to do, but it is satisfying to see some of the results of our hard work!

One of the things is helping us on this path is a simple routine of setting and meeting goals. We are gradually establishing this goal setting routine, as part of the fabric of our business. Each quarter, the management team selects three to five goals to accomplish, and each team member sets individual goals for the quarter. We then review and monitor them regularly until completion. This process, even in its infancy, has created tremendous results in getting things done! It moved us from talking about the things we should do, to taking specific action.

Here are my 7 Keys to Goals that Produce Incredible Results:

1. Rhythm
Goal setting must be regular and recurring. For us, breaking the year into quarters, and setting our goals every quarter is the best method to keep ourselves on track. If a goal is too much for one quarter, we split it into two parts, so we can accomplish each part in its own quarter. Accomplishing some big goals each quarter has amazing results.

2. Commitment
There have been a few quarters, where we set a goal for which we did not have complete agreement and commitment from the management team. It is important that everyone is behind the goal and agrees to move it forward. If there is not agreement, the goal often lags behind and meets objections and excuses as the quarter progresses.

3. Ownership
Once goals are selected, we split them up between managers. Each manager is responsible for one or two goals. This does not mean they do all the work. It just means they take responsibility and shepherd the goal to completion. Everyone in the company does their part to accomplish the goal. The assigned manager is responsible to keep the process on track and to make sure it happens.

4. Breakout
Not the dancing kind! This is a key part of accomplishing the task. It needs to be broken down into manageable, measurable parts. We ask ourselves what steps we need to take to complete the big goal, then break them out. For instance, if the quarterly goal is to institute a customer thank you gift program, we might have the following steps: 1. Determine what criteria met to send gift. 2. Research and select types of gifts to send. 3. Determine who is responsible for sending gifts. 4. Establish written process. 5. Introduce program to team in company meeting. 6. Evaluate process to insure working well.

5. Date Activate
We all know, setting goals without a timeframe for completion results in failure. Setting clearly defined completion dates for each and every goal and sub-task is key. By completing these smaller tasks on a date activated schedule, we insure that we do not fall behind and end up in a position where we cannot complete the goal by quarter end.

6. Less is more
In picking goals, we often have far more possibilities, than we can accomplish in one quarter. The temptation is to be too aggressive and set 10 goals instead of 3 to 5. Having too many goals each quarter almost always means failure. We often discuss which goals are most needed, and which ones will produce the biggest benefit now, and which ones fit together the best. Choosing fewer is almost always the right choice, but the key is to pick ones that you can accomplish.

7. Fun
Working toward a common set of goals as a company can be a great team builder and create a sense of shared accomplishment. In Verne Harnish’s book, The Rockefeller Habits, (which I highly recommend) he advocates creating a Quarterly Theme to keep things fun and to build some rewards for meeting your goals. We recently built a World Series of Service theme. It created fun and rewarded the whole team for completing tasks that improved service. We met our end-goal and all went to the Brewer’s game as a reward. It really created some great energy around taking the best care of our customers.

Sometimes it is the simple things that make all the difference. Setting goals and accomplishing them sounds so basic. However, we are learning to use this one simple practice to help us move things forward in our company. I would encourage every business owner and manager to take a closer look at how they set and meet goals. The impact of doing it well is amazing.

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