The 3-Step Shortcut For Goals Haters
Of course you don’t really hate having goals, but that doesn’t mean you embrace a formal process, treat SMART goals like a legal requirement or otherwise embrace writing down what you may convince yourself you already know. So the argument isn’t if goals work, if they help, if they are necessary but rather how they are attended to and what process puts them into play. Fortunately, not everyone needs or benefits by one best practice. For the naysayers and resisters we train a three step shortcut process for goals that can be the difference between imagining, “I already know what my goals are,” and a better reality, “I’ve got a better process (for me) I will use for making and accomplishing goals.”
Why do we have goals processes? For companies with multiple employees and especially with multiple levels of authority and responsibility having a goals process means formalizing alignment between the top and the bottom. More importantly when we know what we are measuring towards we can have objective direction on what behaviors need to be in place and what priority those need. A loose and informal goals process, like, “we all know what we need to be doing,” can feel like enough but it’s a pretty poor excuse not to have at least a modicum of formality.
Most guilty of being formally goalless are the self-employed. Many are highly motivated, highly focused and many are successful by the seat of their gaberdines. Their goal is “more” and, maybe “better,” and their measurement is in their bank statement. Sure this can work, but there’s an undeniable correlation between focus and success. Some can manage this in their head, maybe even communicate it effectively to subordinates but why risk leaving success on the table because something was incomplete or not as explicit as it could be. The solution, a simple process for the goals process haters.
While my first recommendation to clients is a SMART goals process with tiered cascading between levels and formal reviews of progress sometimes that just doesn’t fit. Any good coach or consultant, teacher or manager will concur that a person’s best opportunity for success is to work within their disposition rather than always fighting it. In short, you can learn the best process in the world and agree with it but if you do it without conviction, or worse, fight it, it’s likely a waste of time. Thus our “3-Step Goals Shortcut®” for businesses or professionals.
THE THREE STEPS
As you might infer after reading this I am a strong advocate for invoking the “Rule of 3” in as many instances as practical. This approach allows less bureaucracy, overhead and administration than a traditional goals approach but gives most of the fruit with less of the gardening. In basic terms for any business there are three prongs to the success formula: 1) Revenue, 2) Expense, and 3) Process. Even if you are in a professional position that is dominated by focus on one of those three your work, at some level, directly impacts or supports these three pillars. By the way, it should go without saying, but it won’t: If this isn’t important to you it probably won’t happen anyway. If accomplishing these goals won’t produce the feeling(s) you are in it for then your emotional goals may need more than a shortcut can properly provide. Assuming not, proceed:
Step 1, Making Money
It’s most easy for anyone, especially owners and top executives to obsess on the revenue line. How much should it grow? What are my opportunities, my risks? New markets, attrition, competition and the list goes on. While writing these for an analysis may be the thorough way, simply taking an annual number and writing it down gives goal #1 a pretty clear target. Maybe you want to do it break it down quarterly, monthly or otherwise but when you add the year you get a number. The government makes us close our books annually so for step one write a simple sentence about what your revenue number should be in order to declare success for your chosen strategy.
Step 2, Spending Money
Business 101 informs that revenue less expenses gives us our profit, of course the numbers might consist of many sub categories but the bottom line is that every business has to spend money to make money. The less you can spend while making the most you can make is how you get an address on easy street. Of course there are any number of times where you need to invest much in order to earn (even a little) but that’s in the detail that, remember, you don’t want to write down in an MBA-approved thesis. So, step 2 requires you write down a sentence with and about your annual expenses for the coming year.
Step 3, How You Get To The Big Bucks
Everyone who works is ensconced in process. Every process is ripe with behaviors. One of the reasons our strategy and training practice migrated towards “Business Therapy” is that as often as not people know what they could have or should have done to achieve what they really wanted but why they didn’t becomes the key to the puzzle. Process isn’t always simple and neither is behavior modification but for shortcut step #3 write down what you need to do better, or what you need to do more of, or less of. What is it, that is in your control, that you can do to make the revenue higher, the expenses more effective and the process more efficient and repeatable? Will you feel good about doing this? Do you need help: training, therapy, hiring? Whatever it is, you better look honestly at what you want the goal 1 and goal 2 numbers to be and make a commitment to getting step 3 to directly impact one or both of the other two numbers and then you have your chance to ultimately find them adding up to what you hope.
If you haven’t embraced a goals process that should be your first choice. There are myriad trainers and consultants who can help with the structure if you don’t want the burden. If you feel that’s the business equivalent of an invasive body probe and your sure you already know what you need to do then maybe give yourself a break. Implement a simpler, but perhaps equally effective shortcut to get to the heart of what you want to accomplish, what you want to spend and what is most important to do more, better or differently to make that happen and if that will make you happy.
©2019 MyEureka Solutions LLC. For help with your GOALS or other BUSINESS THERAPY insights contact or follow Tom @TomFoxTrainer, on LinkedIn or at www.myeurekasolutions.com/thoughts. His recent book: Business Therapy: Ideas and Inspirations To Help Build Sales, Leadership, Management, and Personal Performance is available on Amazon.