What if your goals are really moving you backwards?

Successful people know the benefits of goal setting:

  • Goals help you focus on obtaining a specific outcome,
  • A goal will open your eyes to the distinctions and lessons needed to achieve success, and
  • The specificity of a goal brings the inspiration to push through and overcome obstacles.

A goal can provide something for you and the entire team to rally around. I have found that where focus goes energy flows.  The focus created by a goal draws energy towards its attainment.

I have learned that when I get focused on a goal I make progress.  The focus leads to progress.  That progress creates victories that, when stacked upon one another, create momentum. [bctt tweet=”When I get focused I make progress. Focus leads to progress. Progress creates victories that create momentum. ” username=”markatrisepg”]

Momentum is magic.  As John Maxwell says, “momentum is a leader’s best friend.”  With momentum obstacles seem small.  Without momentum obstacles seem big.

But when I am chasing multiple targets… my progress stalls.

Goals are always top of mind early in the year, and 2017 is no exception.  I have been working with several clients reviewing and refining goals for themselves, their teams and their businesses.  Some patterns are emerging and we’re starting to make some critical distinctions.

Many Goals Versus A Goal

I am seeing a tendency for many leaders to want to set several goals rather than committing to a specific goal. What is your tendency?  Which strategy has helped you to make the most from your efforts?

My Recommendations:

If you tend to set multiple goals instead of one big goal, I would like for you to consider this:  You may be robbing yourself of an important lever that can help you create significant breakthroughs.

Take this example from one of my clients who manages a team of account managers for her company. She laid out her goals for the CEO and I as follows:

  • Renew 90 percent of existing revenue
  • Sell $1,000,000 in new business
  • Organically grow existing revenue by 3 percent

The CEO looked at me and said, “Mark, these are great goals.  They are specific and they are measurable.”  The CEO is correct.  The goals are good… but are they great?

Are they really going to move the team, the organization, forward?  Is there anything wrong with having three goals rather than one Goal?

Maybe not, but consider this:

I responded to the manager with the following question, “If you achieve all 3 of these goals, what is going to happen to your revenue number?”

She said, “I have a $20 million-dollar base of revenue.  If I renew 90 percent, that’s $18 million in revenue.  If I sell $1 million in additional business that takes me to $19 million and if I grow that $18 million by 3 percent that’s another $540,000. So, that would take me from a $20 million base of revenue at the end of last year to a $19.4 million base of revenue at the end of this year.

I paused and let the reality of what she just said sink in.  She blurted out, “Oh my gosh…that’s not enough.  I need to grow revenue not shrink it.  I need to find another $1.2 million to grow by 3%.”

Her three goals sounded great when they were just statements.  But when you put them into the context of A Goal – increasing revenue –  meeting those goals would have resulted in losing business for the coming year.

So, we started brainstorming.  Where else could she get that $1.2 million?  It led to a great new discussion and additional revenue opportunities where identified.

At the end of the day, we identified the one Goal that could help her grow that revenue number.

Her original three goals became levers that she would manage to ensure she delivered $20.6 million in revenue for the year.

Here’s my point, if she would have gone into the year with the three goals (which were good goals) instead of the A Goal, she would have missed the opportunity to ask the question, “What else do I need to do to make sure I hit $20.6 million in revenue?”

She might have missed breakthroughs, distinctions and opportunities that are important to delivering on her goal.

Be specific in your goal setting.  Set “A Goal” not “goals”.  [bctt tweet=”Be specific in your goal setting. Set “A Goal” not “goals”. ” username=”markatrisepg”]

What will it be for you this year?  What’s your one big Goal for 2017?

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