How To Set Goals That Will Drive Success In Your Business

In today’s competitive marketplace I'm finding that many business owners and executives have been reduced to operating like firefighters. They are totally focused on short-term problems in an attempt to reach short-term operating results. They tell me that they intend to devote more time thinking and planning for the future but they just can’t seem to find the time to get around to it. The issue they run into with operating in this mode is that they become addicted to the feeling of accomplishment with the short-term wins, leading to reinforcement of the firefighting behavior and thinking, creating a merry-go-round that is hard to get off.

If you want to remain a market leader, grow you business and reach the level of success you want you must spend 30-40% of your time thinking strategically about your business and it's future. Your ability to set long-term goals and continually think about the future of your business really will have the biggest impact on the success and profitability you will see in the business. You must be able to project forward one, two, three, four and even five years into the future. Always considering what the business will look like and what you will have to do to achieve those long-term goals. Planning once is not enough. The fact that the world is ever evolving and changing means that you need to continually update and adjust your future plans, long-term goals.

Use the GOSPA formula to provide yourself with a framework to support the development of your long-term goals and detailing out of the short term goals that support your vision to achieve the profitability that you desire over the long-term.

  • Goals: It’s what you want, it’s your aim, your desire, your purpose. This is where you strive to be. Identifying and articulating your short and long-term goals is vital to your success. Start with clarifying your vision, mission and purpose. For example, your goal could be a certain level of profitability at the end of a quarter or the end of a year.
  • Objectives: The detail behind the goal. The objectives define how you will achieve the goal. To set you on the right path to accomplishing your goals you need to clearly define the objectives, write them down, make them measurable, and set a completion date. Since the world is ever changing there will be things you hadn’t originally considered, so continually evaluate your path and make adjustments to your goals and objectives. This will ensure that you achieve your target. Let’s say you have a one year goal to reach a target dollar level of profitability, your sales and marketing departments would have objectives to increase the number of sales to support that goal.
  • Strategies: Your strategy is the method that you’re going to use to accomplish the objective on the way to your goal. It’s your game plan. For example, your strategy could be to outsource desktop support to a professional technology organization. And there could be numerous sub-strategies within that single strategy.
  • Priorities: Throughout the planning and execution process you must prioritize what goals, objectives and activities are the most important. You can’t work on everything at once so you must pick the top 3 priorities and focus on them. Priorities must be continually evaluated based on new information learned.
  • Activities: These are the specific daily functions that are clearly delegated to specific individuals with standards of performance and specific deadlines.

Are you guilty of being a firefighter? Do you want to get back on track for planning your future? Then commit today to spend 3-5% more of your time thinking and planning for the future. Then in two weeks from now plan to up that to 8-10%. Repeat those steps until you reach 30-40% of where your time is spent on planning for the future.


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