I have posted a new article on my website. “Achieving Excellence” provide 6 steps to help improve product development processes and teams.
I hope you enjoy it. I look forward to your comments.
One of the greatest errors that an individual or organization (which is nothing more than a group of individuals working toward common goals) can make is to create more goals than can be effectively accomplished or focused on in a given time period. While the intention may be to complete many projects during the year, the reality is that dilution of efforts occurs. By being spread too thin and therefore unfocused, the power inherent in the group is weakened – sometimes to the point of ineffectiveness.
Here are some key concepts that can help in setting goals that are meaningful and attainable:
1. Set goals that contribute only to the most important responsibilities and outcomes for the organization.
2. The goals must not conflict with one another. For example, do not set a goal to grow market share and gross margin if you have no control over the cost of goods sold.
3. Do not set goals so large that they are unattainable, even if they look good on paper. “Solving world hunger” and “creating world peace” are things everyone wants but are likely never to be attained by mere mortals.
4. Do not let corporate mission and value statements taint your goal setting process. These types of “goals” normally cannot be measured in any meaningful manner and therefore do not contribute to the growth of the person or organization.
(It should be obvious, but I will state it here – unethical, immoral, and illegal behavior has no place in any organization. The lack of goals related to behavior does not condone or support unethical, immoral, or illegal behaviors.)
5. It is advisable to subdivide a large goal into a series of smaller “sub-goals” or milestones. Help your team think of large tasks in this manner. It will make the task manageable and will encourage members as the complete the milestones.
Garner your forces at the point of attack to put the most pressure on the task at hand. Focused efforts achieve results.
It is the start of another year complete with the nonsense of “New Year’s Resolutions”. I think the experts tell us that most New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned within 30 days (or is it 30 seconds?). Resolutions are a great idea, but nothing changes if you do nothing to improve the way you approach it.
I believe goals are necessary to drive us to create the results we desire. The goal can be an external reward such as more money or recognition, or an internal one such as a lower weight to improve our health. The problem I’ve found with “New Year’s Resolutions” is that they are not usually true goals but more of feel-good wishes made without much consideration.
For any permanent or long-term changes to occur in our actions (aka behaviors), then we have to answer these questions for ourselves:
1. Why am I doing this?
2. When do I want to reach the goal?
3. How do I know when I get there?
4. What am I willing to do to accomplish it?
5. What has hampered my progress toward similar goals in the past?
Without these critical pieces of data, a plan for successful transformation cannot be created. Without a plan, the goal can’t be attained and self-esteem is reduced. When self-esteem is reduced, goals are abandoned as unattainable and voile’, the 30 day “statistic” is proven once again. I propose that these 5 steps are simple to apply to any goal or resolution of any type. These are tools not only for business but also for individuals.
While the resolutions may have already been made, there is still plenty of time to do some introspection, and then refine them you can achieve them.
Doug helps senior leaders make organic and acquisitive growth decisions–dramatically improving business performance.
P.O. Box 271663
Fort Collins, CO 80527