To date, I’ve shared with you the first four steps in my 6 step plan for taking control in uncertain times which are 1) Set a Short-term Vision, 2) Examine Your Unique Purpose, 3) Know Your Values, and 4) Assess Where You Are and Prioritize. You can visit www.leadfromstrength.com/blog for these other articles in the series.
In this final installment on taking control in uncertain times I will combine the last two steps and discuss Step 5, Setting Goals, and Step 6, Taking Action.
Setting Goals. Your goals should be SMART. SMART is an acronym for the following: S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Achievable, R – Relevant, and T – Time-based, as follows:
- Goals need to be as specific as possible. The more specific, the more meaning it has to you and the more the goal draws you to it. Simply stating, “Generating more revenue,” is not a goal nor a call to action. By stating, “Generating $1 million in sales this calendar year to recover from the recession, keep staff employed, and set the stage for growth,” is more specific and draws you to it from an emotional standpoint.
- By measurable, you must be able to measure your progress and determine if/when you have achieved your goal. For example, it’s difficult to effectively measure the desire to “make it through the recession”, and much easier to measure whether you have or are on track to make $100,000 in profit. Ask yourself these questions when determining if a goal is measurable: Can I determine my starting point? Can I measure progress? Are there milestones along the path? Can I determine when I have arrived? If you can answer yes to these, you have a measurable goal.
- You must be able to actually achieve the goal. That is, the goal must be something you can reasonably expect to achieve within the timeframe set and under the current circumstances. Setting a goal to make $10 million this year when your business has never made more than $3 million may not be achievable – yet. Setting goals that are impossible to achieve, regardless of how much you might desire the outcome, are ultimately not productive and they usually end up demeaning the goal process in the long run with you or your staff concluding goals are meaningless because we never reach them. Set yourself up for success by setting reasonable goals.
- By relevant, we mean the goal must be in alignment with your personal or business Strategic Foundation (your vision, mission, and values). Your goals are already relevant if you completed the assessment in Step 4 mentioned above (read here).
- Goals need to have a completion date or time. Setting goals with no completion framework holds no real meaning. Simply saying you will achieve something and not setting a time to complete it allows you to continuously procrastinate and avoid the goal because there is no urgency for action. As far as timeframe, especially in today’s environment, it is generally better to begin with shorter-term goals in alignment with your short-term vision rather than longer-term goals. Doing so will allow you to stay focused and rack up those feel-good successes!
Taking Action. Now it’s time to develop action plans for your goals, by taking the following steps:
- Develop a Project Plan listing the action steps, sequence of steps, and duration of the steps.
- Assign Accountability and Authority for the action steps to individuals or roles, if you are a company, or making an agreement with yourself to achieve these steps within the project plan. An important accountability is to assign the attainment the goal itself and management of the plan to specific individuals or roles.
- Develop and schedule, at least weekly, planning time to determine the actions and results that need to be achieved during this timeframe. Some plans and goals may require daily planning. Add these planning times to the Project Plan.
- Develop Measurement and Feedback mechanisms and checkpoints (i.e., dates or frequencies such as weekly) to measure and assess progress and make mid-course corrections. You may have to create tools that allow those accountable to measure and report progress. Add the checkpoints and the development of these tools to the Project Plan and assign accountability for their completion.
- Set aside time to review your strategic foundation of vision, mission, and values to keep yourself and your staff focused on the prize. During times such as these, do this at least monthly.
Now, work the plan for each of your goals. In short, this mean plan your work at least weekly, evaluate in the frequency defined, measure progress, make corrections, and insist on accountability. If you have “done the work” to set a clear direction, focused your purpose, defined your decision-making values, assessed your current state and prioritized and planned your actions, you have set the stage for taking control of your life and your business in these uncertain times. This does not guarantee results, but it does guarantee you will be focusing your actions on the things that will most likely lead you and your business to success! In over 30 years in personal and business development, I have not found a more effective way to take control, but there are no short-cuts. You must put in the work and then work the plan.
As always, I stand ready to help. Click here to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to help you jump start this process and take control in these uncertain times.