7 Ways To Set Motivating Process-Based Goals
Man is by nature a goal-setting creature. To be able to live happily, achieve success and be loved are goals shared universally by all people. Everyone has goals, even if they are better understood as “wishes”, “dreams”, “targets” or “ideals”. Why then do some people achieve success consistently, while others rarely do or never get where they aim to go? The answer is largely the method used to identify, set, plan and manage goals through to completion. Many people have no formal goal setting method at all. Others use methods that miss one or more of the key ingredients in a sound goal management program.
The best method for setting and reaching goals is one that meets each of the essential goal management principles described below:
Pursue goals selectively:
Not everything you think you want proves to be worth the time, money and energy involved in making it happen. When we trim our goal list down to the ones that really matter, we have more resources to dedicate to each one. For each goal you consider aiming for, ask yourself does it inspire you to take action right away? Does it seem likely you can achieve it or is there a smaller version of goal that fits better now? Finally are you willing to accept sacrificing other goals to achieve this one?
Keep your goal information well organized:
Ideally you will be using goal management software designed specifically for this purpose. The next best way to keep goals is to establish a tree of folders on your computer and keep your goals in text documents with any additional image or other files required. Using paper and pen is effective only if you have extraordinary amounts of time, patience and organization skill. Most pen/paper goal lists lack consistency, and are quickly outdated and set aside.
Plan your goals thoroughly:
Goals are destinations you are aiming to reach. How, and if, you achieve your goals depends on the quality and degree of planning you put into place for your goal. Take into account the time, money, energy and other primary factors involved in reaching your goal.
Review your goals regularly:
The more often you think about your goal the more often you will have ideas on how to achieve it. Review time can be used to update your goal plan, add notes about progress, check off lists of tasks related to the goal, and add new action items to the goal. Reviewing goals is the ongoing process of caring for and managing your goal through to its completion. Some simple goals will need a little review, while complex major goals may require daily review for several years.
Involve others in your goals:
You are not an island. The support and encouragement of others are critical to your success. Share your goals with friends, relatives, colleagues, anyone who is interested and who you have confidence in. Many of your goals will require the products and services of other people, companies, and groups, choose these relationships carefully and embrace them as an integral component in your success.
Dedicate resources to your goals effectively:
Just as your body needs food, water, and oxygen, your goals have requirements in order to survive and grow. These requirements come in the form of resources that include time, money, skills/knowledge and other components. Think of resources like fuel. Your overall ability to achieve depends both on creating sufficient fuel, and distributing it where it is used most efficiently. Aim to ensure that each goal your working on is receiving enough resources. Reform or eliminate any goals that “hog” resources without providing proportionate value.
Set Smart Goals:
Goal setting, however, is a very important part of my life. But a certain kind of goal setting, SMART goal setting. Goals are SMART when they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant to current business objectives, and Time-bound is best when it comes to motivation to work.
Test each goal against the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based) criteria. Specific, the goal has a clear focus and desired result is communicated with precision. Measurable, you will be able to know whether the goal has been achieved or not because there is a way to measure the results. Achievable, based on where you are now, you foresee that is possible to achieve the target result within the time constraints. Relevant, the goal makes sense to you and is inspiring. Time-based, there is a date set for completion.
Subsequently, when your goals follow the SMART formula, they most definitely motivate you to work, thereby ensuring that tasks get done. Which, of course, is the whole point of goal setting. For more information on SMART goal setting, read this excellent article.
A FIVE-STEP SYSTEM FOR SETTING A SMART GOAL
- In one simple sentence, state your goal and make it SMART.
The one sentence rule forces you to be sharply focused and state clearly and plainly what you intend to accomplish. This is incredibly powerful. Gaining clarity right at the start of the goal planning process. Most business leaders never do this in setting their goals.
Here is an actual statement from a SMART Goal of salesman I worked with:
To achieve $1.8 million of agricultural sales in 2006 by selling $600K of fertilizer by April, $600K of fungicide and growth regulator by June, and $600K of lime, herbicide, and other products by December.
Note how this goal is very specific and measurable, by both amount and product. In analyzing his accounts at the beginning of the year, it became obvious that it was achievable and the dates we set were in line with the growing season of his customers. It is also aligned with the overall business objectives of the company and his own family’s financial goals.
In short, it is SMART.
- List the main benefits of achieving this goal.
Fitness experts tell us that we are not to focus on losing weight, a negative outcome, but on gaining health, a positive one. When we place the benefits of our goals before us, they become powerful motivators for the process of change.
The benefits of this sales professional’s SMART goal were:
- Feeling a great sense of accomplishment of having sold more product than in any other year.
- I will feel good about the job I am doing for my company, a place I love to work.
- Enjoying increased pay through commissions and bonuses.
- Setting the stage for years of repeat business with these customers.
Understanding fully the benefits of fulfilling this goal taps the power of our emotions to get it done.
- List the steps of action for achieving this goal
Here is where the rubber meets the road and, according to my client, the part of the goal planning process gave him the most value. We took the time, step by step, to list exactly what it would take to get it done.
Each step was given a date and a deadline that was then placed on his calendar.
As we continued working together, I held him accountable for completing these steps of action. As they were met, we celebrated, or, if they were missed, we made a mid-course correction and moved on. Here are some of those steps of action:
- Update and analyze soil samples of my all my customers by April 24.
- Write up fertilizer blend recommendations based on the soil samples by March 8.
- Make appointments with all my customers to present recommendations by March 10.
- Apply first round of dry fertilizer by March 30.
- Apply a second round of liquid fertilizer by April 30.
- List the possible obstacles to the completion of this goal
This is a missing link when most people perform goal setting, not asking themselves the question, “What can go wrong?” It is NOT smart to think only about the new opportunities a goal brings you without analyzing the obstacles that stand in your way.
Furthermore, if a goal has nothing standing in its way, it would have been done by now. By uncovering as many of these obstacles early as possible at the beginning of the goal planning process, you can address them right from the start so they don’t derail performance towards the goal.
In other words, if there are clouds on the horizon, bring an umbrella so that you are ready for them! With this salesman we identified these three obstacles:
- Letting a bottleneck develop by doing all my own soil sample work
- Losing sales due to pricing concerns
- Losing sales due to product supply
- List the possible solutions to the obstacles to this goal
Having placed the obstacles this sales professional faced on the table, we realized that some of them had hindered his goal completion in the past. So we began to design solutions, which included talking with his manager who had no idea that there were product supply problems!
Here are this SMART goal’s solutions:
- Work closely with scouts to help with gathering soil samples
- Get pricing strategy set BEFORE customers bring it up.
- Solve supply problems at the management level.
WHAT HAPPENED AS A RESULT?
Following this exact SMART goal setting process, this salesman increased his sales from $1.2 million to $1.8 million. His goal was accomplished, not in the year’s timeframe we gave it, but in SIX MONTHS. That is a sales increase of 50% in 50% less time.
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about this story, however, is that this was not a sales superstar. He was a normal, average guy, very much an introvert. His sales had been stuck at $1.2 million or less for over the past five years. Yet, with a SMART system in place, he experienced success beyond what he thought he could possibly accomplish. All because he was a goal setting person.
What would an increase of 50% of sales in 50% less time do for your business? Get SMART and you could experience the answer to that question.