Let’s talk about goal setting. I mean both setting the goals and making sure you are actually achieving them.
Many articles and books are written about achieving your goals. But what was tested by actual people? What works?
I recently joined the board of an entrepreneurial organization run by volunteers. The leader, an experienced business person, helped us adopt a goal-setting framework. I think it is absolutely amazing because it kept us on track and we achieved what we set out to accomplish.
I’d like to share the framework with you so your group, and you personally, can become better at achieving your goals. The example below is designed for interactive groups, but the concepts can also be used for creating individual goals.
Use The Goal Framework
The Goal Framework consists of several elements.
The two main elements are yearly goals and quarterly goals.
In addition to your business goals, you can have personal goals.
In our group, we established our yearly and quarterly goals, and each person chose their own goals. We went around the room, and each member talked about their goals.
Typically, you would have three to seven goals. These could be yearly goals and quarterly goals you want to accomplish as a group.
The key to creating a plan for achieving your group goals is to establish what they are as a group, but then funnel them down to an individual level.
Set manageable goals
Set up three to seven concrete yearly goals
Why three to seven? It’s a good number. Manageable. Achievable.
You don’t want to set up 20 goals. That’s too many. And you don’t want too few goals either. So three to seven is a good bracket.
The group has to agree on the goals. Choose the big goals you would want to complete within a year.
You will also have your personal goals. Those are the objectives you want to accomplish over the next quarter as an individual member of the group.
Choose a reasonable number of goals you want to achieve in a specified period of time. I can easily put down 200 goals on one list, but it’s not very realistic for me to accomplish those.
Next, define all your goals in specific and concrete terms so you know how to determine whether you’ve achieved them.
Set up the scorecards
Every goal, whether group or personal, yearly or quarterly, has to be measurable. Determine how you will measure each goal.
Here are some examples of measurable goals you might have:
- Hit $1 million in revenue this year.
- Retain 100% of our clients.
- Bring on 100 more clients.
Whatever the goals are, they become concrete once you write them down. Use the scorecards to clearly define your goals and then keep track of them with regular frequency, e.g., over the month, quarter, and year.
Prioritize your goals
Chances are you’ve seen a few viral videos on Facebook about the rocks, pebbles, and sand in a jar.
The moral of the story is if you fill the jar with sand first (least important things in your life), you won’t have space for the bigger stones. But if you fill the jar with big rocks first (most important things in life) and then add pebbles (next set of important things), you will still have plenty of space for the sand – your least important, but perhaps fun, things.
Apply that metaphor to your goals. Look at what you want to accomplish from an annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily, or even sometimes hourly perspective.
Your big goals are your rocks. What will they be?
Keep yourself accountable
When you’re running a business, it’s hard to keep up with all the tasks.
A year may go by, and you might find yourself thinking, “Oh my, I didn’t even get to one of these goals, let alone seven!”
Having this framework will help you keep you on track.
If you set your goals and store the list on your computer or in a file cabinet, nothing will get done. That’s why you need scorecards.
Scores cards will keep you accountable.
To make sure you are keeping on track with your goals, you have to check in once a week, month, quarter and once a year with your team and/or with yourself.
It’s good to get in the habit of checking things off monthly. I like to check my quarterly goals monthly. For monthly goals, I like to do it weekly.
It’ll help you keep a pulse on your business. It doesn’t mean you have to do something in particular, but it helps you see where you are with your goals. Put an actual date and time on your calendar to check in, and review those goals to see your progress.
For example, if your goal was to have 10 new clients in a month, you can check your scorecard after the month lapses to see whether you’ve achieved your goal. Did you get 10 new clients? If not, what happened? What can you do better? What are the next steps?
Checking in with yourself will allow you to stay on top of your goals. If you see you are not achieving them, you’ll have a chance to choose a different course of action or adjust your goals accordingly. Either way, you will keep moving forward.
Goal setting is necessary to accomplish what you want in life. But if it’s done as loosely as new year’s resolutions, you won’t achieve much.
If you are a solopreneur and don’t have a peer group to help you with your goal setting and accountability, this goal-setting framework is your solution.
Having a framework for setting manageable, achievable goals and then keeping yourself accountable for achieving them is key to both your business and personal success. Set, prioritize, monitor, and enjoy your accomplishments.