Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.
~ Jim Rohn
Many people, often senior leaders, feel as if they’re adrift in the world – not sure what their ultimate purpose or legacy might be. They work hard, they get the promotions, and advance somewhat successfully through life from day to day, but they don’t seem to get anywhere worthwhile – anywhere that is self-fulfilling. One critical reason this happens is because they typically haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they want from life – and they haven’t set their coordinates for success!
Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it the first place, your odds of success are significantly diminished.
Here are some broad guidelines to help you not only to set effective, achievable goals, but also to keep the focus on the why:
- Make each goal a positive statement – Express your goals positively – “Execute this initiative to my highest standards, while remaining on schedule and 10% under budget” is a much better goal than “Don’t fail to execute this initiative.”
- Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. This provides a mechanism to know exactly when the goal is achieved, and you can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
- Set clear priorities – When there is more than one goal, give each a priority. This will help you to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed by having too much to focus on at any one time – while also directing your attention to the most important priorities.
- Clear, purposeful steps that are taken along the way will guide you to where you want to be. Your big, scary audacious goal may take a year (or significantly more), however shorter – daily, weekly or monthly – excursions will help you to stay on course and focused in the right direction.
- Keep tactical goals small – Keep the low-level goals that you’re working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too big, it may seem that you are not making adequate progress. Keeping goals incremental, marked as milestones, provides the means to keep you motivated – not to mention more opportunity for reward.
- Set performance goals, not outcome goals – Set goals within your control as often as possible. It can be discouraging to fail for reasons beyond your control. If you base your goals on personal performance, then you maintain control over the achievement of your goals, and draw personal satisfaction from your successes.