Score that goal!

Goal setting that makes a difference

By Snowden McFall

A few years ago, Dominican University did a study that showed people who havewritten goals are much more likely to succeed. Are your goals in writing, and are they SMARTE?

Future vision

Where do you want your business to be one, three, and five years from now? It’s easy in a down economy to focus on cash flow and bringing in new business, but if that’s all you pay attention to, growth is unlikely. Think about where you want your business to be five years from now.

What kinds of revenue do you want to earn? What kinds of customers are you serving with what products or services? Will you be doing business locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally? Will most of your business be online, or will you need multiple locations? How many employees will you need to provide your services or products? What raw material will you require? What is your anticipated overhead?

Once you have a clear picture of what you want your business to be in five years, back it up. What needs to happen in three years for you to achieve your five-year vision? What needs to happen in one year for you to reach the three-year vision?

When you’re crystal clear about where you want to be, it’s easier to formulate written goals that you can act upon and share with your staff.

Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.E. goals

You may have heard this concept before. Make your goals SMARTE goals, which means Specific, Measurable, Attainable through action, Realistic, Timely, and added here is E for Emotional.

Vague goals produce vague results. For example: We are increasing our revenues in 2011. By contrast, an example of a SMARTE goal: Smith Industries is successfully and easily growing our revenues 22% nationwide by Dec. 1, 2011, by expanding market territory to Asia.

This goal is specific because you know exactly how you will increase revenues; it’s measurable because you can see month to month how you are doing. It is attainable, realistic, and has a set deadline. The emotional component of success and ease adds another dimension to the goal and makes it that much more effective.

The next step

Take every goal you have and convert it into a SMARTE goal, then share it with everyone in your company. Tie this goal list directly to your company mission to ensure you are aligning all aspects of your business effectively. Give everyone a meaningful and significant “why” for achieving these goals (sometimes it is to keep them all employed.)

It does no good to increase revenues if you don’t have support staff to handle the business when you get it, or if shipping becomes a nightmare. How can you add value to your customers every step of the way? What can your business do that is unique? Meet with your team and puzzle out all the contingencies of what could happen if you were successful with each goal. Take the time to think it through, and then put the goals in writing for everyone to see.

Why goals fail

Goals can fail, but there are steps you can take to help ensure success. Be sure to avoid the following errors.

1. Goals are not aligned with your “why.” This means goals don’t fit your company mission or don’t resonate with you as a leader. Everything my good friend, Paul Evans, does in business is ultimately in support of his “why”: 100X missions, which provide support and homes for orphans worldwide, often rescuing them from the slave trade. Be sure to align all of your goals with your “why.”

2. There is no accountability. In that same Dominican University study, they found goal achievement increases dramatically when you have an accountability partner who helps you track your progress. That’s why having an exercise buddy is so effective; you might skip exercise class if it was just you, but instead, you honor the commitment to your accountability partner.

Establish someone in the company to hold you accountable and be sure there is positive accountability at every level. Set up weekly and monthly check-ins to see how you are doing on your progress. Cheer each other on, and remind each other of your why as you work on the goal.

3. The goals are unrealistic. Most have had the experience of setting a goal and having it fall flat—but perhaps your goal was not realistic in the first place. Knowing your company history, the economy, and various outside factors which impact your business, what realistically can you expect your business to achieve?

Do the reality test with each goal and then set up an action plan with strategies to achieve them. Break down each goal into smaller, more manageable steps and delegate effectively with accountability measures in place. Check in every month, and if you need to re-evaluate or renegotiate a goal, do it.

Celebrate success

In new research from Harvard, there is documented proof that when you focus on the good things in life and business, your happiness and productivity levels increase. Celebrate small successes along the way, catch others in the act of doing something right, post a bulletin board where wins can be seen, and do this both electronically and physically.

Praise your team as they make progress, both in writing and in person, because 88% of workers NEVER receive thanks for what they do. Be sure you do thank them.

Written goal setting with accountability can make your business stronger and healthier financially. Involve everyone on your team and get them Fired Up! for success. You will all benefit.

Snowden McFall, professional speaker, trainer, and author, is the author of “Stress Express” and “Fired Up!” and the owner of Fired Up! Professional Speaking & Corporate Training. For her free report, the 10 Keys to Fire Up Your Business and Ignite Your Success, go to She can be reached at 904-940-7355

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