Goals that Produce Results
In business, as in life, we know that goals are important, that they give us direction and purpose. However, there is a crucial part of goal setting that we often overlook when setting goals. That is the steps we take to accomplish those goals.
Purposefully Setting Goals
Goals should be made for two reasons: solving problems, and making improvements. For example, as a manager you might make a goal to conduct training on a weekly or monthly basis to help struggling employees. Or you might focus on increasing your market share by a certain date. It is easy to set those kinds of goal, but it can be easy to not take the next step, which is to develop an action plan to reach those goals. As a manager, sales person or business owner you must make sure your professional goals directly (and positively) impact the company’s profits.
From Point A to B
Most goals fail because goals are set with no specific plan to accomplish them. It would be great to have a goal of increasing sales by 10 percent, but without a plan to make this happen you will have a hard time reaching your goal. Planning how to get from where you are now (point A) to the end of a goal (point B) needs to become a regular part of the goal setting process. It is tempting to say you are too busy for additional planning or other details; but what you are really saying is the goals you have set are not as important as you claim. It might also mean that you don’t manage your time well enough to make important goals a priority. This is ultimately what is being said if there is no plan to achieve a specific goal. A simple analogy can describe how this can be a problem.
Take a glass jar, a few large rocks, gravel, sand and water. Start by first putting in the smaller things such as the water and sand. Then put in the medium sized objects such as the gravel. Finish by placing the larger rocks in. What you will find is that all of the small and medium objects fit in nicely. However, your larger rocks won’t. Now let’s try it again, but this time we will do it in reverse. Start with the most important items first: the larger rocks. Then add the gravel and finally the sand and water to finish it off. What you will find this time is that all of the objects fit inside the jar perfectly. So, what does this analogy teach us about goal setting and prioritizing?
The objects in the analogy represent our time and priorities. The jar represents what we are capable of doing. The largest rocks represent the most important tasks. All other materials represent other less important tasks in varying degrees. When we start with the most important tasks and work down to smaller tasks, we are not only able to accomplish more, but we are insuring that the highest priority items get done on time and ahead of other lesser tasks. Planning is more than just busy work. It is a process of organizing what is important and allocating sufficient time to the things that matter most.
Planning to Achieve Goals
Remembering the jar analogy will help you remember to prioritize the more important tasks first and keep them there. Look at your calendar as an empty jar. There is always more to do than there is time. However, just for a moment, look at your calendar as though you are starting with a clean blank calendar. Think of a fresh start. Now, place your goals and top priorities on your calendar first. Give them the prime real estate first. Determine how often you need to work on these goals during the week and month. It may be a few times a week or just one week out of the month. When and how often is up to you, but the most important thing is to give these priorities your prime attention and a first class ticket on your calendar. When you have completed this process, plan for the next most important goals in the same way. Complete the process until you have planned time to work on all of your goals. As you begin working on your goals you will find that not always does everything get accomplished the way you would like. Rarely do things work out just as we plan. But, what you will find is having a hierarchy of goals will help you focus your time on the things that are most important to your company and less important activities will get done as time allows.
Using these guidelines when setting goals will not solve all of your planning and goal setting issues, but it will help you to focus on goals that will be the most effective in helping the company grow and maximize its profits.
To learn more about good time management practices contact Hansen Group Company at 208-346-1005 or by visiting them at www.HansenGroupCompany.com