Why Setting Goals isn’t Enough…

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setting goals napkin doodle

With the dawn of every New Year comes renewed optimism and hope.   I have never seen a study to validate this, but the words “This is the year…” could possibly be the four most over used words in the English language during the month of January.   Why not?  You have 12 months to complete the sentence!

Last week Shawn shared an excellent Aspire blog article explaining the GROW model.  If you haven’t read the post or listened to it yet, I highly recommend it.    It gives a great framework to get you thinking about how you can take the lofty goals you set for 2015 and turn them into reality.  Assuming that you do in fact, really plan to achieve them!

Setting a goal is not enough, it requires execution if you want to achieve it, a clear plan with a realistic time table.    We have been long time proponents of setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, Time Bound) Goals with our clients.  The SMART goal acronym and concept was first introduced in 1981 by George T. Doran.

He created a simple step-by-step process to add a few logical questions to any goal that would allow the individual or management team to assess their goal from different angles and make sure it was in fact an attainable goal.

That said, over the last 30 plus years, the original intent of this process has been modified, tweaked, discussed and debated by management teams, consultants, and business owners like you.   In most cases, by very “Smart” people with the best of intentions.  The down side of all that scrutiny is that the overall message of the acronym has often been overlooked and some of the goals are anything but smart.

Doran’s original article suggested it wasn’t necessary to achieve every objective in order to succeed.  This is a critical piece of the process that must be included when viewing and tracking the success rate of achieving your goals.   His message was not to get too bogged down focusing on the specific objectives, but to also focus on the wins.

By doing this you create a mindset and culture that is constantly trying to get better.  That is constantly asking what is working?  What isn’t working?  You don’t get stuck trying to accomplish an objective that isn’t worth the investment to achieve it or it doesn’t get you closer to your ultimate long-term goals.

Keeping your goals…well “SMART”

One of the easiest ways to make sure your goals are staying true to Doran’s intent is to shorten your year up to 90 days.   Not really, just figuratively speaking.   But, if you can get yourself or your team to focus on what is attainable in the next 90 days, you are much more likely to be where you want to be at the end of 365 days.    The shorter number of days automatically forces the questions of what’s working and what isn’t.   It also adds a valuable element of accountability to your business.

This year get your 2015 off to great start, set or review your goals, make them SMART.   Be sure to mark at least 4 dates on your calendar over the next 12 months to review them in detail.  If you want some professional help, feel free to contact us for more information.   As always, feel free to leave comments in the space below.

Chris Steinlage,  Kansas City Business Coach

Side note…This week there will be two excellent opportunities to attend events centered around the topic of goal setting.  Wednesday over lunch at Coaches in Overland Park and Thursday morning at Eggtc in Brookside.  Space is limited for both and you must have reservations to attend.  Click on the links for more information.