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  • Writer's pictureKate Buchan

Goal Setting and Strategic Planning

Why do we do it and how do we make sure we are setting ourselves and our teams up for success and empowerment rather than failure and despondency...Whether it is planning to run a marathon or delivering growth on a business,  setting the wrong goal will ultimately lead to failure.

There are a number of components that we need to get right to increase our chances of success:

1. Set the correct goal

Seems like common sense that we need to ensure the goal itself is realistic and do able.  There is nothing worse than being given a goal that is ultimately unachievable and so doomed from the start – setting someone up for failure or accepting a goal that is unachievable is demotivating, demoralising and ultimately dumb.  It is also important to make sure that the goal is not too easy to achieve as the accomplishment from completing it is diminished when it is too easy.  One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given is that if the goal is unachievable tweak it and make it something that you can finish.  Then next time you will find you accomplish more buoyed by your past success.

2. Frame the goal in the context of the wider vision

Making sure the goal fits with your inner beliefs means that you will be more likely to succeed… Why? Well it will have an emotional wind behind it, by being in-line with your inner values and core belief system.  If your inner values do not fit with the company you are working with you are less likely to be successful and less likely to be happy.

3. Make sure you break it down into all the components to succeed

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not drilling down into their goals.  They set the goal, think about some major steps around them and stop there. By going a step further and getting a day by day, week by week plan it helps you see how the goal will be reached in doable tasks.  If you have a 10% growth target through acquiring new business from new and existing business and maintain existing business. Then you need to work out what actions need to be taken to do each part. For the new clients – how many new clients, where will you get them from, how will you contact them and when will you contact them and put this all in your calendar.  Not only does this make you see simple do able steps (a task that has the details for calling a client is much easier to do than a task that says contact 20 clients).  It also helps you to highlight if you keep avoiding an action and rectify it.

4. Focus on the goal

All activity needs to be focused on the goal.  Activity focused on other areas that will not help you succeed is just avoidance behaviour and will allow you to have something to blame in the future if you miss your goal.  If the activity is important why is it not part of the goal??

5. Change your mind set

Most people spend their time making decisions about what they will say, do, act and not act based on the past even when they have failed and so when a task becomes hard they fall back into past patterns and this generally means they avoid taking the action needed to do the task which in turn leads to failure.  What needs to happen is you keep looking at the future, tell yourself you can do it and DO IT NOW! Too simplistic well try it when you start avoiding an action ask yourself why and I guarantee it is because you think it won’t work based on past actions and outcomes… If the activity isn’t going to help you get the goal why is part of the plan

6. Take Action

There is no point in doing the steps above it you are not going to take action and do it… A goal and even a plan is a dream until it is put into action.  Non activity will lead to failure and unsurprisingly the more action focused on the goal taken will lead to a successful outcome…

And finally celebrate when you reach your goal!

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