It’s that time, new year – time for goals, resolutions, plans, etc., right? WRONG! Your goals both professional and personal should be top of mind and a constant work-in-progress. We shouldn’t only be setting and revising goals when the clock strikes midnight each year on December 31st. If you have struggled with losing track of your goals over time or have found it difficult to adhere to the plan after it is put in place, let’s start by taking a look at your METHOD. Before you start setting goals, let’s stop and assess your past goal setting successes and failures.
The best method for setting goals that you will accomplish
is the one that makes you follow through!
Strategize Your Method
What is your preference? Do you like paper, white boards, an electronic planner, an app or your calendar? What resonates with YOU? Your preference might be a combination of several methods. The bottom line is that your METHOD is a winner if YOU are accomplishing what you set out to do. On the flip side, think about times when you lost track of your plan (or your goals entirely) – that is NOT your method!
Proven goal setting systems include using some type of day planner (paper or electronic) to establish your plan each week. Coordinating with your calendar is crucial so you can schedule your goals around your appointments and events (or vice-versa). Set aside regular time to review, revise and plan for the upcoming week.
By committing to your plan, you will save time and accomplish more!
If you are looking for ideas, here are some of our favorites (some new / some traditional):
- Day Planner – One of our favorites is the High Performance Planner from Brendan Burchard. This planner allows for self-reflection and planning out your days. Be creative to make whatever planner you choose work best for you. Clients have also recommended Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner.
- Trello.com is a free software with paid upgrades that allows for customizing “boards” that can be shared with others. Templates specific to goal setting are also available.
- Clickup.com is a task management software that is great for individual and group goal and task tracking. The free product has excellent features. Here is a template we made for you to check out. You will need to set up a Clickup account to check it out. Clickup has a desktop version and an app.
- Whiteboarding – Keeping goals posted on a large whiteboard where you can see them is another great way to keep your goals in VIEW.
- Excel – Create an excel file with goals that you want to score yourself on. Here is our InspireSmart Excel Goal Template as an example.
- Other Favorite Task apps (available both in desktop and mobile versions which add to the flexibility and convenience)
- iOS Reminders
- Outlook Tasks
“The trick to gain traction on your goals is to
install habits into your daily routines. Harnessing the relentless power
of habits to reach exciting goals is a secret of the highest achievers”
~ Michael Hyatt
Reverse Engineer your Goal Setting Plan
- Begin with the end in mind. Many experts now refer to establishing your personal goals by looking at your “future self” (Brendan Burchard – Growthday/High Performance Habits) or by “writing your own eulogy” (Donald Miller – Hero on a Mission). Either way, by starting with where you want to be in the future (or end), use that information to work backward (reverse engineer) to determine your goals today in both your personal life and for your business.
- Establish your high-level categories for both personal and business. For overall success and fulfillment, setting goals in all areas of your life will yield the biggest rewards.
- Sample Categories:
- Personal Categories: Health – Family/Friends – Hobbies/Interests – Finance
- Business Categories: Marketing – HR/Staffing – Financial – Facility/Risk
- Set your high-level goals for each category. If you aren’t sure how to make your goals “SMARTER” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound, Evaluate, Readjust), don’t worry. You can always refine your high-level goal after reviewing the details. Keep the number of goals to less than 5 per category.
- Set Action Steps (tasks) for each high-level goal. In your business, the Action Steps may be assigned to your team. Action Steps also include any recurring tasks.
- Determine completion targets for each action step and use that to determine a realistic but challenging deadline for the goal to be complete.
You can download our InspireSmart Goal Planner Template HERE.
Things to keep in mind:
- Challenge yourself with stretch targets for goal completion by setting aggressive target completion dates.
- Prepare for Obstacles. Plan to problem solve and keep your eye on the goal.
- Remember the “-ER” in SMART-ER goals (Evaluate, Readjust).
- Having a WHY gives your goal meaning and you are more likely to accomplish it.
- Determine WHEN & HOW you will celebrate completing Action Steps.
- Coaching is available if you need assistance. Click HERE to sign up for online business coaching. 3LC Members receive a 20% discount on on-demand consulting sessions.
Your Method and Plan are in place. Next step is to make sure you get results. How will you keep tabs on how you are doing? Part of tracking and measurement includes a realistic assessment that says “am I / are we” on track? If the answer is no, then realign and reassign any goals, deadlines or action steps. As Donald Miller says “Celebrate or recalibrate.”
Similar to choosing your method, determining how you will track your goals is a matter of what resonates with you? Choose the tracking system(s) that YOU will USE. With specific goals, measurement comes naturally for daily/weekly/monthly tracking.
Extra things to keep in mind when managing and delegating team tasks:
- How will you stay aware of the status of your team’s tasks / goals?
- How will you track your team’s progress effectively?
- How will you keep your team updated?
- How will you celebrate the wins and/or make adjustments?
The answers to the above questions allow for development of your business goal tracking and measurement strategy. The key to achieving synergy when leading a team to complete challenging goals is building relationships and a culture that allows for candid feedback, overcoming obstacles and respect for each other. Listening to and learning what motivates you team is important. For additional information on employee engagement, check out the BizBuzz Blog, Keeping Employees Engaged and Happy. When tough questions and conversations have to take place about goals, your groundwork is established.
Establishing your method, plan and tracking system is a recipe for success.
“ Most people overestimate what they can do with short term goals,
but underestimate what is possible with long term goals.”
Sample Business Marketing Goal
Let’s walk through making the high-level goal, “Increase engagement on social media” into a SMART Goal. To get to a measurable and specific goal and the action steps you need to establish, you need to make sure you clearly assess the goal and details.
- Define “increase”
- Number of followers increase by x%
- Number of “likes” per post to increase by x%
- Number of “shares”
- Define “social media”
- Define “engagement”
- You have been tracking this metric
- You have ideas on how to improve this metric
Action Steps (tasks) with assignments
- Determine changes to current social media planning
- Recurring Tasks for tracking and monitoring
- Every Friday, log the number of posts and number of shares for each post
- Every Month, calculate an average “shares per post” metric
- Establish timing for review and adjustment to plan
- Set Completion Targets for each Action Step and the Overall Goal
Now that you have analyzed all of the steps, you now have a “SMART” Goal!
“My Facebook Page will double the number of shared posts
increasing from 5 to 10 per week.”
Our InspireSmart Day Planner and Goal Template can be downloaded by clicking HERE.
How does the 3rd Level Team Track goals?
3rd Level Founder and CEO, Frank Sahlein balances his priorities and progress across multiple companies & organizations, family affairs, and personal pursuits through a combination of applications. His overall strategy is kept in a series of Trello Boards that visually track progress in each area. His Google Calendar directly reflects the targets, tasks, and people necessary to achieve the objectives. Both the Trello Boards and the Google Calendar are regarded as “Strategy in Motion” as opposed to static events – meaning there is constant motion and progress which reinforces the cumulative successes and learned lessons. Another KEY principle is “locking in blocks of time” for personal development that is generally non-negotiable. This includes time with his wife, Lourdes, at the start and end of each day, workouts, reading, Spanish and guitar.
3rd Level CCO, Barbara Anne May gets results by utilizing Google Calendar and her phone alerts. She determines her top 3 weekly goals for 3LC along with any personal goals for the week. This helps keep her prioritized goals front of mind. These goals are displayed on her calendar with links to google docs for team projects. Barbara also sets alerts on her phone for daily disciplines. She reviews her progress at the end of the week and adjusts next week’s calendar to the new priorities. When she has her daily disciplines engrained and turned into what she calls “rockstar routines” she removes those from her phone alerts.
3rd Level CBO, Ron Ludwig uses multiple methods to track Annual, Quarterly and Weekly goals. Trello Boards are utilized for Annual and Quarterly Goals and are reviewed weekly on Sunday Evenings to set up his activities for the week. Google Calendar is used for locking in time blocks and Gmail Tasks is used for tracking specific tasks which relate to the longer-term goals. Finally, On Monday mornings, Ron makes sure all critical tasks and recurring time blocks are in his phone alarms to keep the day on track.
3rd Level Coach, Christie Copeland also prefers a combination method. She manages her several priorities including project and task management for her corporate analyst position, responsibilities for her consulting business along with balancing family life and personal priorities by reviewing her calendar and task list and updating her High-Performance Planner. She does a weekly review on Sunday evenings to update upcoming meetings, appointments, goals and tasks. For detailed goal tracking, she uses an Excel spreadsheet with the following categories: Health, Family/Friends, Finance, Business. Each goal is identified and reviewed weekly with a “success score”. For task management, she uses a combination of Google Docs, Outlook Tasks, Toodledo and Reminders.
You will achieve your desired results by committing to your Goal Setting Plan and utilizing your method to track your progress. We would love to know what works for you. Jump on our 3rd Level Consulting Facebook Forum, and let us know.
When setting goals, challenge yourself and your team. Choose goals that are aggressive and push your limits, know that adjusting timelines may be necessary, but if “stretch-goals” are achieved, not only will you move along the success path more expeditiously but this is also grounds for a huge celebration. Setting ambitious goals, will also allow for leaders to determine what employees step up to the challenge.
- Keep your goals aligned with your long-term vision and mission
- Set SMARTER goals that stretch you to grow
- Prioritize your high-level goals within your categories
Using this formula is the key.
Align your long-term goals with your vision +
Use your long-term goals to establish short-term goals +
Create habits that help achieve your personal and professional goals =
Leaving the legacy you desire
At 3rd Level, we look forward to collaborating with you to achieve your business goals. We are here for you and have membership options to assist with every stage of your business. Click HERE to check out Memberships or CONTACT US with any questions.