Stuck on a goal? Try this!


Can you believe New Year’s Eve is almost here?  We are closing in on 2012 very quickly and It’s that time of year when everyone starts reviewing the goals they had for 2011 and thinking about 2012 goals.

The approach and complexity of this process is all over the board. From the dreamers who repeat the same goals from year to year yet they never seem to get out of the starting blocks to the serious analytical types who have meticulously measured every step of progress from day one and are constantly reevaluating their direction.  Although there’s not 1 right way to do things, my hope is you tilt more towards the latter of the two approaches.

A goal is a dream with a deadline. – Napoleon Hill

Since you are reading this I am going to take the liberty of assuming:

#1) You have some goals.

#2) Your goals are in writing.

#3) Your goals are tracked at least in some degree.

But at the end of the day, what is the differentiator that propels some people to achieve their goals while others appear to be working just as diligently, but are not having the same level of success?

If you have ever been involved in any type of manufacturing, you are probably familiar with the word, Kaizen. It is a Japanese word meaning “improvement” and it defines a way of thinking.  In manufacturing it is about continuous improvement and is the foundation of the Six Sigma and Lean movements.

With Kaizen, you are continuously looking for the bottle neck that is keeping you from doing something better, cheaper, faster, and more efficiently. Companies embracing this “continuous improvement” mentality assemble teams to dissect specific areas of manufacturing to determine what the biggest bottle neck is and how they can improve/reduce/remove it. These are called “Kaizen Events”. The results of these events are often transformational for the business.

Try this!

My challenge to you and your team as you think about 2012 and your goals is to perform a “Kaizen Event” on the goals you have struggled to achieve in this past year. What is the bottle neck that is challenged you in achieving it? How can you improve/reduce/remove it? Blaming it on the economy is unacceptable. Whatever your industry, I am sure we can find examples of like businesses who are succeeding. So skip the easy way out and find the real obstacles.

Then, as you establish your goals for 2012, incorporate your findings and use the same process going forward into the New Year when ever you get stuck.  I think you will find it very empowering…and you’ll make a lot more progress!

If you can to this with a group of your peers you will have more success, so I would encourage you not to complete this solo. Understand, self-diagnostics can work, but you risk becoming a race horse with blinders on – be aware of that. Whatever your approach, find the bottle necks in your goals and open them up.

Have you ever looked for the obstacles in your goals? How did you open up the bottle neck? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Chris Steinlage  Kansas City Business Coach

Photo by meddygarnet