Here we are, already in the second month of 2020 and it feels like January was a blur. Anyone else feel the same? Some of you are only now thinking through your goals for the year now that you've settled in after a nice holiday break and annual meetings galore that filled your calendars. Goal setting can mean a variety of different things, whether it's a personal goal or professional goal. In this article, I'll be covering the strategy for your professional goals, but the same theory can apply to you personally as well.
You've heard it a million times: write down your goals and they'll get done. I know I've written down a ton of goals that never got done; so what's the difference between the ones that get crossed off and the ones that seem to always be on the list? The difference is in how you write them and in turn, how you track them. Writing down "go to Italy this year" is not a goal, it's more of "I hope this happens" with no roadmap, or airline ticket on how to get there. Writing down "save $480 per month to travel to Italy in March of 2021" is now a trackable goal with a known end-date and all the fun planning in-between to keep you motivated with that travel savings account.
The same applies in business. I ask a lot of my clients "what are your top one-to-three goals for this year?", and most of them can't answer me. There's no direction. There's no comparison. They are operating as status quo, working IN their business too much instead of ON their business and forget to think in the future for themselves and their business. Below are three building blocks to thinking through, setting and achieving your goals for 2020 and beyond.
Building Block One: Thought-Process
This block is my favorite one. This is where you get to daydream about where you are and where you to want to go. Anything is possible. Forget about any negatives here; this is the list you come up with if everything was perfect. This exercise will allow you to bring back old ideas and make them new again, think through a new strategy and organize your priorities for the year, quarter, month, weeks, and day (more on this below). Really take some time to do this, go back through your notes from last year. What did you always mean to get to and never got around to it? Once you figure out some of your top initiatives, put them in order of priority. What is one thing on that list that if nothing else got done, that would be the thing that moved everything forward. Make this your overarching goal and connect everything else to that. Make your team aware of these goals so everyone can be moving in the same direction.
Building Block Two: Setting Your Goals
There is a very simple formula when setting a goal that will keep it quantifiable, trackable and you'll know if you achieved it. The formula is:
x > y by when
I learned this from the book The 4 Disciplines of Execution (I think it's a business must-read on this topic.) This formula follows the SMART goal guidelines (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.)
Your initiative for the year is to "grow sales by 30%" and say you currently have $60,000,000 in sales. That's too general. You'd want to break it down doing the following:
Entered into the formula:
"Increase annual sales from $60,000,000 to $78,000,000 by December 31, 2020."
"Increase monthly sales from $5,000,000 to $6,500,000 by December 31, 2020."
"Increase sales team from 10 reps to 13 reps by March 1, 2020."
You'll see how you continually drill down the overall goal into very specific, trackable goals and a clear path to get there. Always start your goal with the action that you need to drive that forward.
Building Block Three: Achieving Your Goals
Now that you've set your goals in the formula, you will have month-to-month data for tracking and updating these goals. I recommend reviewing these weekly or bi-weekly so if you need to adjust anything you can do so before the end of the month.
Set-up an excel sheet, or have a journal where you track these items that you have with you on a daily basis. Look and review them often and keep them top-of-mind when your inevitable whirlwind will pull you out of focus. Share these goals with your team and have them keep you accountable and vice versa. When you commit to the goals and they're on paper, they are more likely to get done.
Make It a Group Effort
Our team here at LEVY did a goal planning session and have all set individual goals that will all connect to the greater success of the company as a whole. We even have them posted in our GM's office on the wall so at anytime we can be reminded of all of our goals and be held accountable for them. One of my goals for 2020 was launching a marketing mastermind group with our staff for personal and professional development. Our first meeting was last week and we're off and running with our first book and other action items to keep working on our goals for the year.
How do some of you execute goal setting individually or with your teams? We'd love to hear all about it!
If your goal is to bring your sales and marketing teams into better alignment, then our white paper on bridging that gap will be wildly helpful in guiding you through that process.