The leaders who I talk to seem to think that goal setting is hard. Most also think that corporate planning is hard too. Why? When I look at virtually every personal and corporate plan presented to me, I see one common denominator… They’re WAY TOO complicated!
Business plans often suffer from:
- No clear purpose. Often leaders focus on profit as their purpose. Profit is an outcome not a purpose. A team needs to understand why they are being asked to do what you are asking them to do not what. As Simon Sinek said in his book: “Start with Why.”
- No clear vision. A vision is a mountain top you want to climb. It is inspirational. It is time stamped. It is measurable. Having a vision that reads like “War and Peace” does not motivate or inspire anyone.
- Too many strategies. The magic number is three. Having more than three strategies confuses the team. The team can focus on and deliver three.
- No one understands their part. Everyone in the business needs to know what their role and responsibility is when it comes to the plan. Without this understanding, you will have everyone doing their own version of good.
- Governance. You get what you inspect. Regular (monthly at least) check-ins with the team will uncover areas where they are struggling and create an environment of commitment and accountability.
Personal goal setting often suffers from:
- Too many things. Like a corporate plan, you will be more successful if you focus on the vital few.
- Being too vague. Get specific, very specific about what you want.
- Not Balanced. I often see personal plans that are all about a career. Yes, our careers are important; however, so is your health and fitness, your family, your education, etc. Set a balanced approach to your personal plan that is simple and easy to follow.
- Not broken down into baby steps. I see personal goals that say: “Run a marathon.” Admirable goal. Yet, the person has never run before in their life. They start by going out and running a 10K. Then they cannot walk for a week and they quit. If you were going to eat an elephant, you would do it one bite at a time. The same is for anything new we want to achieve. Break it down into bite sized pieces. The way I approach it is to have a one-year plan, which I then break down into one-month versions, weekly versions and daily things I need to focus on.
Keep it simple!
Einstein once said: “The ultimate in complexity is simplicity.” Whatever plan you are building, keep it simple enough that you can explain it to a 6-year-old. (Einstein also said this: “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, then you don’t understand it yourself.”). Wise words to keep in mind for the next time you’re goal setting.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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Tags: Business Goals
, Goal Setting
, Robert Murray
, Robert S. Murray