At Level Up Leadership, we are big believers in the importance of goal setting. The word goal gets thrown around quite a bit, and usually when people use it they’re not actually talking about goals. They’re talking about wishful thinking. Saying you want to lose five pounds is a wish statement. Losing five pounds becomes an actual goal when you write it down and take planned steps to achieve it. As our first quote points out:
“What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Goethe meant that without firm actions, no progress can be made. Of course, the first actions need to be mental ones. In a business environment, setting goals requires understanding where your company is at and where you want to go. Determining your starting place is an essential first step toward determining where you can go. Chances are that there will be many directions your company can possibly take, so the big trick is figuring out which one is best for your business, your customers, and your employees. Which takes us to our next quote:
“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.” – Earl Nightingale
Your employees want a goal that they can rally behind. This is universally true. However, different types of employees might rally behind very different types of goals. For example, a team of stockbrokers might have very different motivators than community developers working at a nonprofit. Work with the people in your organization to understand what goals will be most fulfilling for everyone.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Stephen A. Brennan
Once you know what you want, lay down a concrete plan for achieving it. Goals aren’t things that just happen, like those five pounds we discussed before. Goal planning requires a careful breakdown of actionable steps according to a realistic timeline. At Level Up Leadership, we work with executive teams to break down goals into their largest pieces as well as their numerous subsections in order to develop a comprehensive plan for achieving success. Once this plan is in place, the next step is making sure that everyone in the organization knows about it:
“Your ability to communicate is an important tool in your pursuit of your goals, whether it is with your family, your co-workers, or your clients and customers.” – Les Brown
The people who work for you should understand both what the overall vision of your company goal is and what their specific role within that goal is. Every person who works for you contributes to your company goals in one way or another. If they didn’t, you never would’ve hired them.
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals; adjust the action steps.” – Confucius
Every goal, no matter how carefully thought out, will encounter bumps along the path to success. As Confucius wisely points out, your goals are not what should change when you encounter difficulty — your path to achieving those goals should.