About this time of year, most business professionals are immersed in the goal setting process; straddling the fence between ‘thinking about what goals to set’ on one side and ‘putting goals in writing for distribution to the rest of the organization’ on the other. There’s no question that your ability to achieve your goals must start with the goal setting process. But without effective management strategies for achieving your goals, the whole process usually dies at the goal setting stage.
Don’t set goals like people declare New Year’s resolutions
According to a study prepared by the University of Scranton, people who announce New Year goals (resolutions) have about an 8% chance of achieving what they so freely tell their friends and family. This outcome is not much different for businesses who fail to go beyond the goal setting process. What’s missing? Management strategies that focus on goal planning and management! If you declare that in 2018, you are going to reach a never before achieved level of revenue and don’t plan how you will get there, your chances of accomplishing this goal will be in line with winning the lottery.
There are many great systems and guidelines available to assist you with the goal planning process. This article is focused on management strategies that will insure you achieve what’s important to you once your goals are set and disseminated to everyone around you. As the owner or leader, you job is to provide clarity about what and why, provide guidance and support, and monitor progress.
Here are 6 management strategies to insure the goals your company depends on for growth and prosperity get achieved.
Management Strategy #1: Communicate your goal achievement expectations with clarity
All too often, goals get fuzzy after the initial process is complete. Over time, people at all levels of the organization forget about what’s important and get absorbed in what is routine. This happens because the leader loses clarity about what and why these goals were committed to. Some will even justify their lack of ongoing communications about their goals, preferring to think that everyone else has the situation under control. Reality usually sets in when the first quarterly management meeting is scheduled, and a goals review is a surprise to everyone!
People will keep their goals top-of-mind if they get a steady diet of goal focused communication from the leader. The leader will be more influential about the need to stay focused if the impact of these goals is crystal clear. You cannot over communicate the importance of managing goals throughout the year. The key is to incorporate participation into your communications by asking questions about the status of everyone’s goals. Believe me, if you don’t get comfortable driving the ‘goals achievement’ message, no one else in your organization will.
Management Strategy #2: Assess your inner circle
It’s not easy committing yourself to accomplishing what you may have never done before. It takes ‘ambitious thinking’, guts and a continuous amount of reinforcement to stay on track all the way. For this reason, it’s vital that you look at who’s in your inner circle. Are you surrounding yourself with people who embrace your goals? Do you trust these folks to provide candid feedback? Will they hold you accountable and maintaining positive support for you to stay on track with?
If your company is small and you don’t have a good cross section of management talent to lean on, consider finding these people outside your company. They could be colleagues you respect, a coach, a mentor or a peer round table. Whatever you select, be discriminating with your choices. You want people who will invest themselves in seeing that you and your organization reach the goals you’ve set.
Management Strategy #3: Do you have the right talent of the mission?
A leader’s greatest contribution to business building is the ability to develop talent. You will not always have the right talent on hand and with today’s tight labor market, you might not be able to buy the talent you need. Be critical in your evaluation of your people and select the ones who demonstrate a desire to perform over and above. If they lack the necessary skill, be willing to mentor or coach them up. They represent the bench strength you need for the future.
Consequently, you may have employees who have been around and seen all the business cycles your organization has gone through. They maybe valued assets or they might be people who are fond of history and quick to trash new, unconventional approaches. It’s not an easy decision to make but if they can’t get on board and don’t have the capacity to change, help them find more suitable employment.
If you find a roster change is necessary but aren’t confident doing this, download my eBook on Hiring & Retaining Your Best Employees.
Management Strategy #4: You can’t achieve what you don’t measure
Being able to measure progress is vital to goal achievement. And being able to measure results on a timely basis requires the right tracking reports and data systems to feed the reports. If you have written your goals correctly, being very specific about the outcome and time frame desired, you will need measuring systems to insure you can tell how you are doing until you achieve the success you want.
Measuring goals can involve a variety of sources. Do you have the core data needed to assess the outcome? Who is involved in various goals that will be responsible for providing goal activity updates? Who will be responsible for assembling and providing summary reports for you to assess and make decisions with? Don’t assume that what you were working with last year is up to the task. Take a specific goal and walk it through the reporting process to see if you can monitor every aspect necessary to insure you achieve it.
Management Strategy #5: Reduce distractions and multitasking for you and your team
Most of the time, when I’m working with a client and they tell me they missed a goal, it’s because there was not enough ongoing focus. People get busy and if you are running a lean shop, your people are really busy! How many of them (and you) are prone to working on minutiae and avoiding what’s needed to move the goal achievement ball forward. Your team may not see this or be able to correct it, so you must. Insure that everyone involved in achieving your goals spends the proper amount of time on them.
One of the best ways I know to reduce or eliminate distractions and time spent on low level tasks is to use your calendar more strategically. If necessary, implement a company calendar for employees to plan their time. If they are not focused on the most important company goals, you need to be able to get ahead of this before too much time goes by.
Management Strategy #6: Delegation is like mana from heaven!
It’s virtually impossible to set a huge, meaningful goal for the organization and then attempt to achieve by yourself. You’ve hired capable people to do most of the work. You need to give them the responsibility and support, then get out of the way.
Big goals require the efforts, ideas and commitment from a team, your team! Once they are clear about the importance of the goal, they are prepared to play their part, they have the time and resources to get it done and they feel like an integral part of the team, you will see results like you’ve not seen previously. It starts with your desire and ability to delegate. Without proper delegation on critical goal activity, you will lose focus and the ability to successfully direct your organization towards goal achievement success.
In a nutshell….
Goal achievement is all able getting clear on the importance of the goals committed to and being confident enough to communicate this continually.
It’s about having the right people working on your goals with you.
It’s about being able to measure your processes and activity
It’s about clearing the decks of low level tasks or continuous distractions that take people off track
And, it’s about delegating as much of the detail work to those who are capable and probably can do it better than you, then let them run with their duties.
Don’t be a victim of habit or historical routine. Take a critical look at how you address goal achievement and be willing to re-write your process, so you can achieve greater results and build the confidence that you have done it!
If achieving goals has been a struggle for you, make the decision to go in a new direction. Download my eBook called, ‘Pro-Fectiveness’. It will open your eyes to a different way to achieve what’s most important to you!
About the Author
Steve Smith is President and Founder of GrowthSource Coaching headquartered in Lake Forest, CA. He is an accomplished leadership, management and organizational enhancement coach who brings over 40 years of business building experience to every client relationship.