Clear and proper goal-setting is instrumental in business growth. Goals allow a company to identify realistic growth rates, clarify areas in need of improvement, and move toward continued success.
When it comes to goal setting, we often find the best advice by looking at what we shouldn’t do. Understanding what not to do can help decrease significant time and effort down the road.
Before going into the strategic planning cave, check out these goal-setting mistakes that could ultimately hurt your bottom line.
Focusing on Don’t Want Instead of Want
It is often easier knowing what you don’t want as opposed to what you do. In order to set a goal that includes specific actions to take, what you need to achieve must already be clear.
Identifying what you don’t want can help clarify the opposite. But it is still necessary to be certain, not of the direction the company isn’t heading in, but where it is.
A mission statement goes a long way toward shedding light on a company’s long-term direction. By keeping the mission statement on hand when goal setting, a business will remember what it’s all about, its values, and what it originally sought to do at its inception.
If we consider a mission statement a company’s personal manifesto, it becomes easier to identify where the company stands on certain ideas and strategies.
The topics and principles the mission statement covers are excellent starting points for clarifying goals and then how to go about getting them.
Not Reviewing Goal-Setting Progress
In order to be sure you are reaching your goals or hitting your target markers, a progress review is imperative. It takes time to accomplish a goal, and it can often feel like you aren’t getting anywhere.
This is why it’s important to set aside regular times to take stock of everything you have accomplished. Doing so will help you to maintain consistency and motivation.
Celebrate when you fulfill small sub-goals, and analyze what you need in order to keep moving toward overall the finish line.
Regular check-ins are also opportunities to discover necessary updates or tweaks to a goal. In fact, companies that accomplish the most are ones that do their strategic planning on a quarterly rather than annual basis.
This greater attentiveness allows them to increase their responsiveness to changes in the environment. Are there particular activities that required extra time? Have any priorities changed? The time to direct your attention toward these possibilities is now.
Too Many at Once
It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to do everything at once. You want a sexy body, to make millions, have your Twitter account make it onto a “Companies to Watch” list, and the list goes on.
It makes sense to tackle more than one goal at a time—otherwise, everything would take forever. But overloading goals is a sure way to fail. When there are too many tasks on the horizon, it’s easy for the importance of certain items to become muddled. Then many goals end up downgraded to to-do tasks.
According to iDoneThis, there is a major gap between what we want to do and what we actually accomplish. In fact, people never finish 41% of tasks, while 85% of completions are tasks for which they did not plan.
Discovering that sweet spot number of manageable goals might take time. Until then, keeping your list at three main goals for a particular quarter will increase your probability of success.
Vague vs. Measurable
[clickToTweet tweet=”The best way to know if you have achieved a goal is to quantify it. ” quote=”The best way to know if you have achieved a goal is to quantify it. “]No one’s ever stuck to a vague goal to “lose weight.” Instead, it’s essential to work around a regimen with progressively heavier resistance for the purpose of strengthening the body.
Nutritional guidelines, resistance training, and adequate recovery will also help you make specific steps toward your ultimate goal.
In the same way, a company’s goal to “increase social media engagement by 25%” is specific and helpful. This goal will have a better chance of marking progress as time goes by over simply saying “increase social media engagement.”
Yes, social media engagement might increase in both cases. But without a target number in mind, how can a company know how much engagement has grown or whether it needs to increase its efforts?
Measureable goals should answer questions such as: How much? How many? How will I know when I have accomplished it? The best goals will be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-driven, and time bound.)
By keeping SMART goal setting at the forefront, your likelihood of not only setting realistic goals but also seeing positive results increases as well.
No matter the technique you use to set goals, however, your most important priority is ensuring that clarity, focus, and motivation are the forces driving you toward achieving results.
Ultimately, it’s remaining clear on the “why” behind your goal and staying positive and encouraged that will enable you to succeed in getting your company to the finish line.
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