Why would you say it’s important to make goals?
I’m big on goal setting, I’ve always been trying to strive towards some type of improvement. I’m not one to be discouraged. I would rather have goals and fall short or not achieve them than not have goals at all. Typically, when that happens the goals have to be more realistic or better-defined goals.
When did you start making goals?
Early on a lot of my goals were sports-related. Once I started running my own business, I realized how important it was to make goals. I’m a fan of Michael Hyatt’s SMARTER goals – he adds an ‘ER’ to the traditional SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. The ‘E’ stands for exciting; you have to be excited about the goal. And the additional ‘R’ stands for risky, meaning you should try to stretch beyond a goal that may not be much of a challenge.
Choose a Goal That’s on Your Mind All Year
It’s important to have a goal that’s important to you. It shouldn’t be some goal you set in January and then December rolls around and you realize “Oh, let’s check in on that goal and see how we did.” The biggest thing is to have a goal that’s on your mind all year. We utilize our dashboard product, Sparction, to create a weekly scorecard that is closely tied to our goals. This forces us to review our progress at least once a week.
How do you make goals? Are there steps?
December is a great time of year for me to reflect on the past year and think about the direction we want to go as a company for the upcoming year. This also includes our vision, and what’s going to help us get there. I tend to pick things that make me go “wow if we could do that, that would be amazing!” Don’t try to pick too many. Then, in order to achieve that goal, you need to reverse engineer. Ask yourself does that mean breaking things up into smaller to-do’s or is it measuring it by milestones? I would recommend breaking things up into smaller pieces, otherwise, it becomes too daunting.
Running and Breaking Your Goal into Chunks
I’ve been into running my entire life and there were a few years my goal was to run a nice 5K. So, I went backward and defined a certain type of workout that involved repeating 800-meter runs on the track. I decided in order to achieve a certain 5k time, I needed to be able to complete this workout with each 800 being under target pace with a specific rest period. Even though the 5k goal was planned to be completed in October, I wanted to achieve this workout goal two months before that race. Early in the summer, this workout was too hard for me so I decided to break it up into 400-meter repeats.
My point here is that you want to try to break things up. And if you feel like you’re overwhelmed, you can always break things down again. My advice is you need to realize it’s just doing the math, going backward, deciding on your goals, and making sure that you’re excited about it. You also need to be able to measure it.
Make it Specific
For example, I really enjoy golfing, but very rarely do I have goals for that. Fundamentally I would like to say “I would like to golf better.” However, “Golf better” isn’t a goal. Consequently, over the years, I haven’t gotten better! There needs to be something very specific such as “I’m going to get up and down in 2-3 strokes when I’m within 40 yards of the green.”
Every business would like to increase their sales and you could have a clear measurable goal such as “Increase Mobile Development Revenue by 10% by the end of 2021. However, there is no actionable item here. No one just increases revenue but you can increase actions such as the number of proposals presented or the number of qualified prospects obtained or even the number of dials made.
What are the top 3 things to think about when making a goal?
I would say just make sure that first, you should ask yourself “Where do I want to be?” Second, “Does this excite you?” And third, “What would be a goal that would be aligned with that desire?”
If I could only achieve one goal this year, what would that be?
A good exercise would be thinking about areas you would like to improve upon and deficiencies in yourself and the business. Go through your list and then ask yourself, “What are the top three, two, or even just one deficiency that I want to improve upon? If I could only achieve one goal this year, what would that be?” This forces you to understand what’s important to you. It’s easy to come up with a dozen goals.
Once you start going through your list and narrowing down these goals you get a better idea of where you want to go and why.
How do you actually achieve the goals you set?
The first thing you need to think about is how will you measure the goal. Then, once you figure out how you’ll measure the goal, you can backtrack and think “Ok, where do I want to be at the first quarter or second quarter to achieve my goal?”
Some people don’t like numbers, but you have to have some way to measure your goal. It can’t be a fuzzy goal.
Now that you’ve got your goals and measurements, how do you go about working on them? How often do you measure it? Is it just a matter of doing a few nice habits on a weekly basis? Or is it milestone-based, such as breaking it up into steps?
Split the Goal Up into 90-Day Segments
I will say that it’s hard to focus on anything more than 90 days. I would recommend splitting the goal up into four 90-day segments. I would discourage having a 6-month or 12-month goal as it’s hard to pay attention to it.
At first, you might not be thinking about it but eventually, you may want to ask yourself “What’s going to happen if I’m not achieving that goal?” Perhaps your pace from the beginning was not realistic. I rarely change the goal; however, I’ll change the pace towards the goal or milestones. If anything becomes too daunting, I will break it up into smaller chunks.
When should you make goals?
It can be anytime, but I would say that the new year is a great time. December has always been a time for me to think about the things Tornado Technologies wants to do for the next year and see how we ended up on certain things this year. If you had just achieved a goal, or you happen to not have any goals, and it’s the middle of summer, I don’t see why you couldn’t make some new goals. I look forward to this time of year and I do some planning at the end of the calendar year.
Is there any other advice you would give to someone trying to make goals?
There are individuals that say setting a goal is depressing as you’re reminded that you failed or that you’re not doing something. For me, I’m never upset when I set goals. I find it exciting to strive towards that next goal. If I fail at my goals, I don’t see it as a depressing event, rather I look at it as a puzzle. Maybe it was a setback, but it just allows you to reflect, think, and try new things. It’s just part of the process as things don’t go smoothly all the time but that’s not an excuse not to try.
A Tool to Help Track Your Goals: Sparction
At Tornado Technologies, we have a tool called Sparction that tracks our goals on a weekly basis. Sparction allows us to see our weekly numbers and makes it easy for goal tracking. There is a monitor in our hallway that displays Sparction’s data so every team member can see it. Interested in learning more? Contact Mark Roshon 216-454-4000