Did you know you will achieve more when you have fewer goals? It’s true however the quality of each goal is essential insofar as the goals must stretch you beyond your comfort zone.
In this article, we look at how you can set business and personal goals that stretch you for the right reasons – i.e. success.
When you turn your computer on in the morning and start being productive, what will you apply your efforts towards achieving? If you’ve lots of goals in front of you, you might choose your favourite, or you might prefer the plan that you think is most important on any given day.
Lots of goals can lead to a lot of inefficiency, bias and stress. I say stress because the more goals you have, the less you actually achieve. That’s stressful.
If you want your company and teams to be hyper-performing, you need to clarify the game-changing goals. These are the goals that need to be committed each quarter, and when they’re achieved, re-set and go again. Don’t describe your business as usual as a goal. That just happens and is how the business operates day-to-day.
Hyper-Focused & Hard
Not everything can or should be improved all of the time. In fact, wanting everything to improve all of the time incrementally can be damaging. So instead, target where the big wins are. These are the leading indicators that, if improved a lot, would lead to lagging indicators like revenue and retention improving.
Then set the bar high, really high. The science of goal-setting tells you that low-balling targets does nothing for you or your company. On the contrary, hard goals lead to far greater achievements. So don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid of not being ambitious enough, and be even more afraid of having a company culture where failure is a reason to penalize people.
Failure should be more of a learning experience than a stick to beat people. Teams that feel safe to share their ideas set hard goals and know that their skills and talents will be used and recognized will outperform those that can’t don’t or won’t.
Use OKR Properly
If you’ve used OKRs to set goals, make sure you’re using them properly – most are not. Here’s a handy OKR guide to check. If you’re not, then discover what they can do for you, which is a lot.
OKRs are the goal-setting framework that, when used correctly, forces companies and teams to focus on the goals and measurements that matter and then deliver on them in an open, transparent, and agile way. Thus, solving issues as they come up in record time.
It’s a way of setting goals that align with your strategy, compliments your company and team KPI tracking, and provides a focus for your productivity. So it’s not a surprise that every major tech company you’ll know is using OKRs.
Commit To Cadence
Great goal-setting is done with a predefined and committed cadence. You may be head-scratching the term ‘cadence‘ in a business environment, and that’s okay, as it is more commonly used to describe modulation in a person’s voice. Whereas in business, cadence is used to tell of a natural or ‘rhythmic sequence of events.
For example, annual goals are supported by quarterly goals, which are updated and discussed weekly. Breaking this tried and tested cadence is like putting the shopping basket for your eCommerce store in the bottom-left, not the top-right. You’ll still sell, just not as much as you would if you stick to what is proven to work.
Cadence also gives you agility. In a world that’s speeding up, not slowing down, this really matters as well. Which is where the balancing act comes in. Planning in cycles optimized for impact and prolonged effort and short enough to allow you to adapt and even pivot.
Commit To Change
Most companies are setting too many easy to achieve goals and managing them at a sub-optimal cadence. This is your opportunity to make goal-setting an advantage. It will take a few quarters to get right and make second nature, but after that, it will be part of your business operations, and you won’t look back. So the first step is to commit to being really good at it and not to give up.
Less is definitely more when it comes to goal setting. However, there are some clever ways to set up and get more done when you align what you and staff do with what needs to be achieved for business relevance and survival.