4 Top Tips To Stay On Track With Your Goals
Have you ever had a business goal you didn’t achieve? Most business leaders have plans for what they want from their business – and an idea of the direction the organisation should take to achieve those plans. Whether your plans relate to goals in finance, growth, sales, customer satisfaction or another area – the ultimate aim is to make sure that your business succeeds in achieving these goals and meeting these targets. But at times, you communicate your goal and motivate your staff to achieve it. They all work hard and put the hours in. Time passes. But – they don’t get there! Your business doesn’t achieve its goal! What happened?
The methodology seems simple: you decide on a end-point, set your course, map out the route and navigate the journey to reach your planned destination. But something happens and you end up somewhere else. How did you miss your target so badly?
And more importantly – how do you avoid arriving at the wrong destination in future? Here are some tips for resolving that issue, and instead, reaching and achieving your goal.
Clear, smart goals
It is important to be very clear about your end goal. Identify where you want to go – your destination – to give you direction and determine the best route to take. Map out actions to help you to arrive at that particular destination.
Make your goals SMART – be specific and precise about the area for improvement or the target. Make your goal measurable by quantifying your goal success and setting milestones to measure your progress by marking a certain result and when it should be achieved. Make sure your goal is attainable within your current capacity and resources. Make it also realistic for you and relevant to your business and market. And remember to keep it time-related by setting deadlines to achieve it.
This all involves having a clear plan and focus for your goal – defining it, knowing how you will reach it – and also periodically checking that you’re on the right course.
Communicate your goals
Ensure that everyone on your team (and in other areas of your business) understands where they are headed, and how to get there. For business success, make sure your team are involved, informed, motivated and engaged. Ensure that they understand what your business stands for and how their work contributes – and that they feel some connection with it, buy into its aims and share its values.
This makes them perform better, stay longer, and offer better customer service and satisfaction, as well as making sure that you all arrive at the same destination.
Monitor and review
Even when businesses and their leaders specify clear goals, some businesses don’t monitor their progress or track their performance against the goal or target. This means that despite all their focus and effort, they miss the mark. Think of it in terms of aircraft navigation – if you’re travelling somewhere and your plane is just one degree off-course, after a mile, you’ll miss your target by 92 feet. Maybe that’s not so much, but if you were travelling across America from San Francisco to Washington D.C., that one degree makes a greater difference – you’d end up 43 miles away from your planned destination. Travel around the globe, and you’d miss it by 435 miles. So it makes sense to consistently check where you are, and adjust course.
Having divided up the journey and split your larger goals into smaller, more readily achievable ones, with deadlines or milestones, you should be able to measure your results as you go along. Don’t just review at the end of a year. Regularly assess progress against the goal. Check if it’s on track or whether there need to be some adjustments or tweaks made, to get things back on track.
Make the right moves
Maybe you just made the wrong move. Maybe your original premise just didn’t work, or one of the strategies you selected wasn’t actually fit for purpose. This could have moved you away from the end-point you really wanted.
So, sound planning, strategising and forecasting upfront is important. Consult your team and clients to check your vision, theory and practice. Instead of dictating your own goals, guide your team to set appropriate yet stretching goals and keep to them.
Set your business goals on customer feedback in word or action, analysing them and their behaviour – how they find you, the products or services they buy most, and how you get referrals. Modelling, testing and trialling can also save a lot of wasted time, effort and expense.
Do more of what works and improve unsatisfactory areas. While it’s important to have a clear, well-thought-out strategy, and be determined to carry it out, it’s also important to recognise when something just isn’t working, and be flexible enough to change things.
It is said that planes fly off-course more than 95% of the time, but the pilot’s skill is in constantly adjusting the steering – an analogy perfect for business leaders. To make sure that you arrive at your destination and achieve the outcome you want, clear goals and a good strategy is a great start – but you also need to take action, review progress, and be brave enough to admit mistakes and make changes.