Do you need Busifunness? - Goal Setting
A very obvious question for someone operating a business, but, unfortunately, a question that has too little attention paid to it is: “What do you want from your business?” Time devoted to this question and the associated follow up work will bring huge rewards.
Your business is a vehicle to achieve your personal objectives. Our real objective in working with owner operated businesses is to help build the ideal life. In this context goal setting is at its best when done in a holistic manner, not just focussed on one goal to the exclusion of all others. While focussing on a single goal is exceptionally powerful, we also want balanced lives. It is well roundedness that keeps the balance and keeps the wheel of life turning.
In his book, “Inside America’s Fastest Growing Companies”, M. John Storey revealed 13 lessons he learned. His number one lesson was the following:
“All of the people involved in growing their own businesses have a crystal clear vision as to where they want to go in the long term.”
This implies that knowing where you are going is a prerequisite for success in your business. Even more compelling evidence of the power of goal setting from the 1953 study of the Yale University graduate class that found only 3% of them had written goals. A follow up 20 years later found that this 3% had a combined wealth exceeding the other 97%.
So, goal setting starts with your personal goals and is likely to have goals related to the following:
Set Aside the Time for your goal setting program
Even though goals are a very personal thing, for those of you in a relationship, it is likely to also involve your partner (because relationships are also very personal things).
Set aside time with your life partner to discuss what you want out of life.
How to Start your goal setting program
Experience has suggested to me that not every person finds it easy to know what goals to set in each specific area until they are asked the right questions and when these right questions are asked, the light goes on and a clear image can come into focus.
One line of questioning that has been effective for others in clarifying their goals follows the pattern below:
1 What have been important achievements for you in the last year with regard to your personal development (and then your health and fitness, relationships, etc).
2 What are important things you are not yet getting done with regard to your personal development, etc.
After you have discussed these questions with your partner (or just considered them yourself) you are in a position to take yourself ahead five (5) years and imagine your ideal life. Of course, you don’t have to take yourself ahead five years. It could be ten years or three years or two years or one year or even six months. But, you do need to take yourself into the future and imagine your ideal life. See it, hear it, feel it, taste it and smell it. Make the image of this ideal life as powerful as you can so that you are totally excited by it, totally motivated by it. How clearly can you see what that life is? How strongly can you feel the power and the enjoyment of having life that way?
Can you imagine how you look and how you feel?
Do you see the type of work you are doing?
Do you notice your relationships?
Are you totally happy with your financial situation?
How clearly do you notice your success in life?
Answering these and related questions will help you build your personal goal profile. From your personal goals profile, you will know what your business needs to achieve to provide you with your ideal lifestyle. Your business is such a powerful tool to transport you to your personal goals.
How to structure your goals
How you structure your goals has a significant impact on how effectively you achieve your goals. There have been many valuable things written on the structure of goals. For instance, there are SMART goals which are:
You may find variations on what the letters stand for but there is consistency.
What specifically is it that you are going to achieve? The more specific, the more effective. For instance, I wish to be lighter lacks the effectiveness of: by 12 December I weigh less than 68 kg.
By 12 December the benefits of my healthy eating and exercise program has resulted in my weight being less than 68 kg.
You get what you measure.
This is a refinement of the previous part and it follows from the cliché – “we get what we measure”. Measurement focuses our attention on the outcomes. If we
continue with your previous example, 68 kg is the measurement we are aiming for.
Your goals need to be set by you, not by someone else for you. Similarly, you should have goals that relate to you, not to others. While it is appropriate to set a goal to weigh less than 68 kg, it is inappropriate to set a goal that your spouse will weigh less than 68kg.
This can be a difficult area to balance. On the one hand you need to set goals that are humanly possible. A goal to run 100 metres in 6 seconds would be unrealistic. On the other hand you will benefit from having a goal that is sufficiently rewarding. Some years back after I had worked with clients for a while and defined our goals for a particular time period, I set some “blow out goals”. The definition we used for a blow out goal was something you would achieve only in your wildest dreams. To our amazement many of these blowout goals were approached or achieved.
As a result, I am in favor of more confidence and optimism in setting your goals. At least consider what your blow out goals would be. Of course if you are just starting your goal setting journey you may err on the side of conservatism until you gain the rhythm of the process. However, the sooner you gain confidence in your goal setting ability the greater your returns will be.
By what date will you have achieved your goal.
There are other features of powerfully structured goals:
Your goals should be about what you will achieve not about what you won’t achieve. For instance: a goal which says I don’t won’t to be overweight is about what you don’t want. A more appropriate goal would be I weigh less than Xkg.
Write your goals as if you have achieved them (or are currently achieving them). The earlier example for achieving a weight goal highlights this point. The goal is documented as
By December 12 I weigh less than 68kg. NOT I will weigh less than 68kg by December 12.
Writing things in the past tense (or present tense) enables your unconscious mind to image you have already achieved your goal. This is confirmation that it is achievable and as such it helps you overcome possible limitations in your thinking.
Building Business Goals
Now, using the same methodology, you are well placed to build business goals that support your personal goals.