It has become stale at this point to discuss goals and achieving goals. Everyone knows what it takes to set and achieve goals, and there is no shortage of acronyms (e.g. GOALPOST) to help managers remember that goals are time bound, measurable, significant, etc.
This begs the question of why – if everyone knows how to set and keep goals – so many businesses fail to achieve their objectives. Goal setting is sort of like New Year’s resolutions: easy to make, hard to achieve.
A business coach and advisor can help ensure that you and your leadership team set appropriately aggressive goals and achieve them. There are six steps to the process:
First, set the right goals, based on a strategic plan that sets the most important priorities for the business to succeed and be dominant in its marketplace. Goals follow from a solid, elegant strategy for success.
Second, launch a plan to achieve the goals. It is not enough to set goals in a vacuum and expect them to somehow be reached. The business needs to develop a clear plan of action, resource needs, roles and responsibilities, organizational structure, and commitment in order to put substance on how goals will be met. The goals need to be broken down into manageable chunks of time and tasks, with specific people responsible. For instance, if a business wants to generate 200 more leads per month, then it needs a plan of action to generate those leads, and that plan of action should break down further into specific action steps by specific people every single day.
Third, create a dashboard of metrics to track goals over time and make mid-course corrections. Every executive should have a dashboard to track where progress is acceptable and where intervention is required.
Fourth, hold specific people accountable for achievement of the goals. Develop a recruitment and retention system to have the right people in the right places in the organization – people that the leadership team trusts to get the job done. The business should constantly recruit for talent, and have a process to develop, reward, and retain top performers in the context of business goals.
Fifth, have a process to track progress and make any necessary corrections. The leadership team should agree to meet regularly to track and discuss progress – and bring in other personnel as needed.
Finally, know how to have conversations for accountability. It is up to the leadership team to hold everyone in the business accountable for results. The conversations required to hold people accountable vary depending on the situation and performance. Sometimes the manager needs to be directive, sometimes he or she needs to coach, and sometimes he or she needs to provide training and support. There are also explicit conversations required to set (or reset) expectations, acknowledge results, and provide incentives for performance.
Again and again we find managers who wonder why their people aren’t accountable for results. In our experience, the issue resides with the manager, not the people. You get what you tolerate in business. If you aren’t setting and tracking the right goals and putting in place processes and conversations to manage by goals, you shouldn’t point the finger for poor performance at anyone but yourself!