Making sure your goals and strategies pass the test – my basic ground rules

Making sure your goals and strategies pass the test – my basic ground rules

Welcome to 2019! Hope you had a safe and fulfilling holiday season with friends and family. Before we jump into goals and strategy – I want to cover a few ground rules I follow when looking at my personal road-map. (Again – keeping in mind there are many flavors and approaches – these are mine).

  • Keeping focus on what you are good at
  • Knowing the difference between the aspirational and realistic and tangible
  • Move. Do. Go. What can you do right now to move forward?
  • Break it down

First and one I believe I tend to lose site of the most is focusing on what I (we) are good at. Some call it “what we are wired for”. As entrepreneurs and leaders – we all have a bit of shiny object syndrome; or the tendency you veer towards a challenge or unknown or interesting. EOS calls it “Visionary”. (EOS – another very solid program). However sometimes that challenge or curiosity or intrigue (distraction) takes away from where we bring the most value to our organizations. Necessity dictates so I get it. The phones need to be answered. The customer needs to be satisfied. The garbage needs to be taken out. But we must force ourselves to be true to our core competency. At a higher level, as a business – what is your core mission; our core values, our core product and/or service. What brings the biggest bang for your investment (time or capital)? Know that, keep that in mind as your layout your road-map. Deviate as little as possible. Be willing and able to say no. Hone your craft. Know what you are wired for and adhere to it. Maximize the return on your individual contributions and efforts.

The next is taking a step back and evaluating any goal or objective and asking “is this aspirational or is it realistic? We all want to be the best at something or have a service or product or both that are the best – but too many times we set goals or objectives that are completely out of whack. Some look at a stretch goal as the must have. That is ripe for failure. Others set aspirational as the course – and will be dissatisfied and disenchanted right out of the gate. Now I have no problem with BHAGs (Thanks Jim) – but any big goal needs very realistic and tangible and have attainable steps. Most importantly, can it be measured! Stop and ask – is this nuts or is this for real? It’s worth the pause.

What can you do right now to move forward? Momentum is key. I tell myself (and my teams) that anything you can do – right now – to move towards a goal is progress. Not confuse being busy with progress. Momentum especially holds true when success (or the definition of success) is at times murky as an unknown or challenge appears. Fun fact – If you need help on SMART goals – Google is a great place to start 😊. However, SMART goals aside, ask yourself, “Is what I am doing right now moving me closer?” Like in selling, you are NOT going to get to the number waiting for the phone to ring. Move. Call. Write. Code. Design. Sell. Momentum. Commitment. Just go. Do.

Finally, don’t eat it all in one bite. Any goal must be broken down. Calls = conversations = demos = sales. Lines of code = testing = beta = feedback = MVP. Running a 10K starts with the first lap. I think you get the point. What are the basics of movement towards your target? Just go, do, start with that basic breakdown in mind.

A few others that also sneak in:

  • Can I measure this (progression)
  • Is it SMART (There we go with SMART again…)
  • Less is more

Now – go, do, win, achieve, succeed, launch, accomplish, inspire. Start with these 4 simple litmus checks and you should be well on your way to clarity and focus.