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Approaching 2019

Hello WU Learner!

The new year is the time when everyone sets new goals and resolutions, and with 2018 in full swing, business owners alike are already giving up on them. But that’s not you, right?

We often start the new year with clear mind, clear goals and a clear path on how to achieve them but a year is a long time. We lose steam, change priorities and sometimes just plain forget about what we set out to do. It is a matter of human nature and almost a joke how bad people are at sticking to their goals.

Write It Down

For some, this might seem like a no-brainer but considering research shows that less than 3% of people write down their goals, we can all use a reminder. This is because when you write your goals down, you capture what your thoughts better and turn the abstract idea into something real, and something that you own. So, sit down and consider your goals as you write them. Instead of having a goal that is just a place you want to be, ask yourself questions that answer how you will get there, and what “there” actually looks like in a way you can measure. As an example, ‘get more business” isn’t enough. Instead, look at how much you want to increase sales, how many deals you want to close and what you will do differently to make it happen.

With your goals written out, you can regularly check:

  • Am I on target to achieve my goals?

  • Am I doing the things I said I would in order to reach my goals?

  • Do I need to do even more?

Oh, and when I say write your goals down, I mean to write them down with pen and paper

Make It Visible

It is not enough to simply set a goal. Even the best-intended plans fall by the wayside, get confused or forgotten. Having your team create a theme and visualizing your goals will help you achieve them. This is particularly helpful with long-term goals, or ones that involve different departments or teams because it helps keep everyone aligned. Dedicate a whole wall and list the goals in large, colorful fonts. Show what steps, and initiatives you’re going take to reach these goals and track your progress on this wall. Choose a theme to make reaching the goal more fun and display progress based on this theme. Moneybags tipping a scale, a race track, or even humble thermometer can help keep your team informed and also encouraged to move forward.

Break It Up

Big goals can be daunting and when you’re starting at 0 it can be downright discouraging. Since you want to hit 2018 running, break up your goals by quarterly, monthly or even weekly intervals. These bite-sized pieces will make sure everyone is on board and can see what they need to do now and not worry about what they need to do 6 months from now.

This context helps people make better choices around them by allowing your team to see how they are doing with the goals on a more reasonable timescale. With the goal broken up in smaller pieces, you’ll be able to adjust course faster as well because you’ll receive feedback on if you’re falling behind, or need to set different priorities to achieve your goal much sooner.

Reward It

Everyone is working hard to achieve their goals and they should be rewarded for it. When a target might seem out of reach, or everyone is feeling tired, a reward can be a great motivator and help everyone push just a little harder. “If then” rewards, where you say “if you do X, then you will get Y” is an excellent motivator for tasks that are easy and have a clear milestone that you want to get to. This can be a sales target, conversion ration or some other easy to measure KPI. As a reward, you can offer free lunches, a few hours of bowling or even a trip to the movies.

For more complex goals, this may not be the best approach. In these cases,  employees, and even yourself may “game the system” and do what it takes to achieve the goal but at the cost of a greater goal in mind. With this in mind, it is often better to motivate by making work more enjoyable. Listen to your team ask them what they feel that they can do to achieve your set goal and put this into action. By offering more autonomy, showing confidence in their skills and providing them with a greater sense of purpose you can transform your team’s mindset into one where they work they do is a reward itself

Be More Gritty

Goals should be outside your comfort zone so you can grow but this, by their very nature makes them uncomfortable. While most people believe success comes from talent and risk-taking. Grit isn’t talent, or luck, or even how intensely, for the moment, you want something. Grit is continuing to hold onto your goal and work towards completing it even if you fall down, are behind or even screw up. So while sometimes you may feel like you’re not going to succeed, or that you made a mistake and it is all hopeless, ask yourself “am I being gritty enough?”. So, while your competitors may be on top now, they’re coasting on talent or luck, but your long-term success will come because you’re working harder every day.

Setting new goals and sticking with them is a core skill you need as a business owner. You are steering the ship with your eyes on the future, and if you can achieve what you set out, future successes become inevitable. Follow these 5 step each time you set a goal for you and your business and nothing will stop you and your business from becoming exactly what you desire.

Author: JD Mckenzie


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