by Matt Roberts, ZOKRI
It has been over a year of hanging in there for most, as opposed to thriving. We’ve all had to learn new skills and new ways of working. Remote working with pets and kids running around being just one of our everyday challenges. Although, I’ve got to admit to liking video calls with people who obviously have personal lives. It’s brought some much-needed reality to our business lives.
As normality of a sort approaches, it’s now time to think ahead and set goals for our companies, teams, and even our personal lives. What I’d like to share with you are some goal setting tips that will help you achieve more, faster.
Goal setting is an easy idea, but there are definitely good and bad ways of setting goals.
In fact, it is probably something that you’ve not thought about that much. But goals are actually one the keys to success because they provide clarity on where you’re going, and what the priorities are that will get you there in the shortest time, and of course, how you will measure success.
Low-balling is bad, ambition is great
Goals exist to tell us where to direct our efforts and importantly where not to. Research has proven that easy to achieve goals don’t provide much value. What you need to do is be ambitious and set stretch goals. Hard to achieve goals make us focus more, prolong our effort, and upskill, innovate and collaborate more effectively. So don’t worry about failing, worry about not setting the bar high enough.
Measure what matters
Trying to achieve a goal that is trying to improve something that doesn’t really matter is obviously a bad idea. Key Performance Indicators or KPIs are good metrics to target when selected well. But be aware that some KPIs are slow moving lagging indicators like Revenue. When setting business goals it’s better to target the KPIs that are leading indicators and predict changes in revenue. For example, if you want to sell more online, attracting more visitors to your website from channels like Organic Search and having those visitors convert to a customer are predictors of online revenue.
Set team and personal goals for 90 days not years
We’re living in a fast moving world and what we need to focus most on achieving should be kept to shorter planning cycles. Your company strategy and goals can be set for the year, but the goals that will help you achieve your annual goals should be quarterly. Quarterly goals keep us focused and more importantly, agile.
I recommend you learn more about setting Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) as a way of planning and tracking goals. Pretty much every tech company uses them as ambition, alignment and agility are fundamental to their growth and success.
Fewer goals are better than more
The more goals any team or individual has the less progress they make towards achieving them. Think about it as diluting effort. Set goals for the things that matter most. When you’re not doing your day-to-day work and activities, what will you focus on? If you have too many goals, what to work on can be ambiguous or biased towards what you like doing, not what you need to be doing.
The days of senior management setting goals and passing them down have gone. The best companies define the strategy and their company objectives, and then invite departments and teams to discuss and propose goals that align and would help the company achieve their objectives. Trust, empowerment and autonomy are fast replacing autocracy and micromanagement.
Failure is not as bad as you think
Nobody wants to or likes to fail, but if we’re going to set the bar high we need to get used to it. Achieving 70% of something really hard is a success. Even a total failure may provide really valuable learning experiences. So be ambitious and don’t be too hard on yourself or the people you work with if you do miss the mark.
Matt Roberts is the founder of goal setting software – ZOKRI. His mission is to share goal setting best practices with everyone so we can achieve more.