January 14, 2009

How to Set Goals That Really Happen

Some people set business goals like their New Year’s resolutions. We all know what happens to those - they are shallow, fear-based and essentially don’t work. Why? Simply because they are a reaction to something you don’t like about yourself, or are afraid of. Plus, the results targeted are probably not realistic. Even if you do accomplish one of them, it may not really be the thing that will give you the greatest satisfaction and long term benefit. It might be a compensation for something else that truly is important to improve.

Many of us set a goal to lose weight, when we really need to change something else that is at the root of our over-eating and under-exercising. Maybe it’s a relationship that isn’t working, poorly managed finances, or over-working due to weak time management skills. Any one of these issues creates a high level of stress. You may not be aware of the real issue, or want to confront this uncomfortable problem, so you overeat. Going on a “diet” is only going to cause more stress. It’s a vicious cycle and doomed to fail.

On a business level, weakly thought out goals are also ineffective and often destructive. For example, a business leader might set a goal to increase his company’s performance by 30% this year. The team focuses on the most obvious thing, sales. So they ramp up, hiring more people, setting up new improved sales training and perhaps buy more advertising. In reality, the business has poor customer service and weak systems. They are losing good customers daily. This is the source of this company’s problem. Increasing sales won’t solve it. Instead the leader must consider steps to creating authentic goals for the organization.

In other words, to really make important changes in your life and breakthroughs in your business, it takes a deeper understanding of what the real problem is. Once that is identified, then the question becomes, what is between you and overcoming this issue and accomplishing your goal? It takes a new level of awareness. Dr. Paul Warren, the late psychiatrist and author said, “Self-awareness is curative.” That is where coaching, consulting, training, mentoring, and support groups come in. We all need others to help us see what we cannot see for ourselves. Consider the art and science of selecting and tracking your goals to achieve success to help you focus on the right results.

If you are serious about making 2009 a “sea change” kind of year – a line of demarcation, a watershed or turning point, then get serious and take time to really reflect on where you’ve been in the last year and what is important to you now. Then consider what kind of support you will need to accomplish your most important business and personal goals. Sound too time-consuming, or too complicated? The time you spend will save you many hours of frustration and discouragement. And think how good you will feel next year when you have accomplished so much!

1 comment:

Shirley Fine Lee said...

You may find some useful personal goal setting articles at http://www.topachievement.com/articles.html.

You may also find more tips on the help page of an on-line personal goal-tracking tool at http://www.mygoals.com/helpGoalsettingTips.html.