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There are few feelings more satisfying than achieving your goals, especially when those goals relate to your business. Conversely, it’s pretty crushing when you don’t meet them.
Whether you’re starting a business or preparing your company for the new year ahead, it’s important to create a smart set of goals.
If you’re consistently missing your targets, part of the problem may be how you’re setting them. Before you create your next set of goals for your business, here are some questions to ask yourself.
What is the purpose of this business?
Forget all the noise and details. Go back to why you started this business or got involved in the first place. Did you want to build a strong local business that would employ and stay within your family? Was it to build a strong brand that would enable you to go public through an IPO or eventually be acquired? Whatever the reason, get to the root of the company’s original purpose.
What are our long-term goals?
By definition, long-term goals aren’t meant to be achieved in a month, a quarter, or even a year. Your most pie-in-the-sky goals could take even longer than that. It’s important to have these types of targets; they keep you focused and striving for the future.
However, for the sake of morale, they’re not the types of goals you should be constantly pressing on employees. Reach for the stars, but don’t forget to be realistic day-to-day.
Are we tracking short-term goals?
If your team is always chugging away at goals that could take years to meet, it’s easy to lose focus and get discouraged. The value in short-term goals isn’t just boosting your employees’ spirits: Hitting more immediate, manageable targets gets you that much closer to your loftiest goals.
Set short-term targets with actionable steps and aggressive timelines with clear markers of success. As an organization, achieving these smaller goals are what you should be focusing on and tracking the progress of every single day.
Do we have a reasonable strategy?
Once you set your short-term goals, don’t get overzealous and pursue them all at once. Instead, evaluate them and figure out the time and resources you think you need to tackle each one.
As you move forward, give yourself permission to adjust targets and timelines — don’t be so rigid that you can’t recognize when it’s time to change course.
Have we sought employee input?
Your employees know — perhaps better than anyone — what they can achieve in a given timeframe. So, when you invite them to be part of the goal-setting process, you can be confident that they’re suggesting and endorsing reasonable initiatives.
You’re also giving them a bigger stake in the process, and as a result, their sense of ownership gives them a greater drive to succeed.
Are we celebrating our victories?
When you do reach your goals, however small, it should be acknowledged. Success is a powerful motivator, and if you don’t consider anything but an IPO to be worth celebrating, you’re going to have a staff that feels pretty overworked and underappreciated.
Make a point to acknowledge victories and jobs well done, whether it’s a shout-out at the all-hands or a staff lunch to commemorate a great quarter.