In this article I’m going to tell you why just setting goals won’t work, and then I’m going to show you what you need to do so that they will work for you, and only then will they work in harmony with you getting what you want – (this is secret sauce to your business success)
So you’ve heard this right? In business (and Life) it is important to have goals… in fact you’ve probably heard it many times over (and over!), your mum has told you, your teachers, you’ve seen it on the telly, you’ve read it in countless books, you have watched “The Secret” where it is inferred that “everything one wants or needs can be satisfied by believing in an outcome, repeatedly thinking about it, and maintaining positive emotional states to “attract” the desired outcome”. You’ve heard about the ‘Law of Attraction’ that subscribes to a theory of vibrational attraction… to the extent that belief is “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. This belief is based on the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from “pure energy”, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy.
Now to some extent these theories may or may not be that true, I’m not here to argue or debunk their merits, no – what I’m hoping to do in this article is to get you – yes I’m talking to you Mr or Mrs business owner… to get you to realise that you need to set goals, or targets, or aims or … or whatever the hell you want to call them, but you need to set some, you need to have some things that you’re aspiring to achieve or at least working towards AND that’s not all, keep reading and I’ll tell you why just doing this won’t work, and then I’m going to show you what you need to do so that they will work for you, you up for that? Great then read on…
I work with many business owners who feel as if they’re adrift in the business – I often use the analogy that they are feeling like a cork in a spa pool! They work hard, but they don’t seem to get anywhere worthwhile, they continue to struggle, much like a cork bouncing around against the bubbles, and to some extent being reactionary to which way the bubble bounces them, also, problems just seem to make a beeline straight for them. They are somewhat aimless in what they are doing, not knowing what the day will bring… Are you getting the picture? does it sound a bit like you? Do you wonder what the day will bring, rather than bringing something to the day? Anyway…
I’ve figured out that a fundamental reason they feel this way is that they haven’t spent enough time dreaming about, thinking about, or writing about what they want from the business, thus they haven’t articulated their vision nor set themselves any formal goals therefore they’re aimless and directionless. Think about it, would you head off on a major trip with no idea of where you’re going? I bet not! “If you don’t know where you’re going, who knows, you may already be there” – and you can quote me on that – but they sure do hit the nail on the head when it comes to the lack of results they’re getting because they have no goals.
The truth of the matter is that Goal setting is an extremely powerful process for working to get your ideal business, and for motivating you to turn your vision into a reality.
The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in business. By knowing exactly what you want to achieve, you should then know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that can, and sometimes easily, lead you astray.
Have I said enough to convince you that having a dream, vision or at least some idea of where you want to go AND you have set some goals around that is a good idea? Like I told you at the beginning – I’m going to tell you why just setting goals won’t work… and here’s the reason… Although setting goals is a BIG step towards a desired outcome… the mere fact of just having set them won’t work – unless you then see to the next step, and that is creating a PLAN on how you’ll expect to achieve them.
There are many reasons why even when we do set goals, we don’t achieve them. Sometimes the goals we set are unrealistic. New Year’s resolutions are typical examples. Suddenly, we expect to change the way we eat, or the way we exercise just because the calendar changes. It’s like expecting a child that’s never ridden a bike to suddenly jump on and go, or to run a marathon without months of training. These goals are based on illusion with little regard to natural growth. Another HUGE reason we don’t achieve our goals is because we tend to set and forget them… now, that can work on an automatic oven, or a washing machine… we can set and forget what time we want our dinner to start cooking before getting home, or the laundry to start so we can wake up to it being done ready to peg on the line, because the next steps are programmed in the system and the machine just gets on with doing what it has been programmed to do, imagine if there was no program set up in the machines, that’s right, there would be cold, raw dinners and unwashed clothes… so, it transpires for us to achieve our goals we need to program the next steps into our system too.
So, how do we set and achieve goals? Stephen R. Covey says it best in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. “To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.”
The operative part of this statement is “so the steps you take are in the right direction”.
And as I said I’d tell you earlier, the secret sauce to achieving your goals is having appropriate steps to take that lead you to your end result. And that’s where many people fall down, they don’t PLAN the steps or do anything different to what they have been doing in the past, which brings me to my all-time favourite saying – ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’ To have change happen, you need to plan to make change happen!
We need to understand that Planning helps you set a course for the achievement of your goals. “Planning to plan” is often the single most important component in effective business planning. Spending some thoughtful time preparing to create your plan – identifying goals, stating some business objectives, evaluating current and future processes, and considering your “vision” or purpose for your business – all will result in a tightly focused plan. For those of you believing planning to be a daunting task, proper preparation makes the process much more simplified.
The consideration needed for planning is to actually do something, yes, many people want different or better results but are not doing anything different or better to get them. You need to pick some well thought out strategies to implement along with the varying tactics you’ll use to get them. It’s worth mentioning that you need to continue to test and measure your strategies and tactics, many business owners continue to spend good money on tactics that aren’t working, but because they are not measuring results, they have no idea they’re not.
Now, instead of reacting to unexpected changes (called crisis management) start to plan and anticipate and prepare for them. Businesses caught off guard, spend heaps of time and energy “playing catch up”, they use up their energy coping with immediate problems with little energy left to anticipate and prepare for the next challenges. This vicious cycle locks many businesses into a reactive position. It doesn’t have to be that way. The alternative is called strategic planning which provides a viable alternative to crisis management.
Strategic planning is the key to helping you gain control of the future and the destiny of your business and provides you with a roadmap to achieving your dream business – whatever that looks like to you.
So if you are setting goals and hoping to achieve them through some miracle of nature without actually planning and taking action on that plan then you will continue to get what you’ve always got, but if you want change and more success, then perhaps a strategic plan with actionable tactics is the answer, and if you want help with the process, message me or call me on 021 210 8950 and lets have a chat.