07
Sep
15

Six Secrets to Achieving Monthly Goals

hitting_goalsBusiness is about driving growth and making progress. The only way to measure that growth and to know if your company is making progress is to have monthly goals. Interestingly, no matter how scientific or mathematically savvy you are at goal setting – a goal is simply your best guess. If you’re overly optimistic, your goal guesses will tend to be more aggressive and require high levels of coordination and effort. If you’re overly conservative, your goal guesses will be conservatively middle of the road. If your overly pessimistic, your goal guesses will typically reflect the lethargic state of your company under your leadership. If you don’t set monthly revenue goals, you are leaving the fate of your company up to the powers of the universe … which translates into, “If you don’t care – neither will the universe.”

Given that a goal is simply a best guess, the secrets to achieving monthly goals have everything to do with how you position, approach and apply effort to achieving those goals. If you want to lose weight and get fit, the first step is to make an unwavering commitment to losing weight and getting fit. I use the word “unwavering” because anything less leaves room for that rogue Twinkie and too many naps. Then comes the diet and fitness plan. Once the plan is set, it’s all about effort and execution. The more focused, intense and flawless the execution, the better the results and the closer you get to your weight and fitness goal. It’s the same in business.

Here are my six No-Compromise Leadership secrets to achieving monthly goals:

  1. Leaders give life and meaning to goals: A goal is simply a number if that’s all you put out there for your team. A goal number has no emotion, buy-in or energy if you don’t position it and give meaning to it. Your team needs to know the story behind the goal, where it came from and what it means to achieve it. If that goal was set with the expectation of everyone showing up and playing hard … tell them that story. If that goal represents the funding of a special project … tell them that story. If hitting that goal is about survival, paying the bank loan, making payroll or paying the bills … tell them that story. If that goal is about funding expansion, hiring and training new staff … tell them that story. Leaders give meaning and purpose to the best-guess goals they set. FACT: A goal is just a number if you don’t give it meaning. People won’t give their all for a number … but they will for a cause.
  2. And the plan is …: Goals aren’t achieved simply by everyone playing hard. Goals are achieved by executing the plan. Each team member knows what to do and when to do it. More importantly, team members know how their individual performance and contribution is essential to the execution of the plan. They know how their teammates depend on them as much as they depend on their teammates. Coordination, execution and mutual trust are the bonds that hold a plan together. Half-baked plans fall apart. Miscues, “but I didn’t know” excuses and finger pointing blame games wreck the execution of an otherwise good plan. FACT: Hitting goal rarely happens by mistake or luck. Hitting goal is an outcome that is both planned and coordinated.
  3. Relentless information flow is the drumbeat: Once the starting gun sounds, it’s all about information flow. Daily huddles are the non-negotiable updates that keep everyone briefed on progress, what to expect today and what needs to be accomplished today. Scoreboards aren’t silly tactics … scoreboards are visual tools to communicate progress and if the team is ahead or behind. During the game, leaders are both coach and cheerleader. And yes, sometimes the leader needs to pull a player from the game for poor performance or acting like a jerk. FACT: Maintaining team progress and a fast pace requires a steady drumbeat of information flow. Often times, that slightly better pace during the game (the month) is the momentum that turns a near miss into a “goal achieved” win.
  4. Adapt and overcome because shit happens: Even the best designed plans are subject to change when reality surprises you with a roadblock. I don’t know how else to put this other than; if you didn’t see it coming … you weren’t present enough and paying attention. That’s a pretty tough No-Compromise Leadership statement because it states that leaders, like the captain of a ship, must be aware of where they are at all times while identifying potential hazards as far out and as quickly as possible. FACT: If your business runs aground, you were off course and didn’t correct fast enough. If your business hits an iceberg … you were asleep at the wheel and didn’t heed the warnings. More goals are missed simply because the leader didn’t identify and address hazards fast enough.
  5. Tick tock and the final countdown: In business, monthly goals are ruled by the counting down of the clock. If your team is off to a slow start the first week of the month, it will have to play catch up. If it’s fast out of the gate, it needs to hold that pace to earn a record win. If it’s the fifteenth of the month and you’re 45 percent to goal … it needs to do 55+ percent in the last half of the month to win. FACT: Hitting goal is all about maintaining focus and the collective sense of urgency of the company. Instilling confidence, pride and a winning spirit in a team is what fuels a sense of urgency. Dictating, prodding and demanding, without showing respect and appreciation, fuels indifference and “I don’t care” thinking. It’s okay to get intense, emotional and spirited if it lifts a team to a win rather than taking a body count just short of the goal.
  6. The final score/win or lose: If your company hasn’t hit goal at least once in the last six to ten months … one or more of the preceding secrets need attention or an entire new approach. The worst approach to a long string of missed goals is to lower the goal to match the lack of focus, performance and sense of urgency. Missing goal month after month is demoralizing. The goal becomes a hammer and something dark rather than uplifting and worth fighting for. A missed goal should be a lesson and an opportunity to assess and adjust. There will be times when life, energy and focus don’t line up properly. That’s okay, as long as the leader pulls the team together and resets everyone back on course to goal. FACT: As with all things in life, hitting goal and the thrill of winning is the direct result of the commitment, discipline and effort of individuals and teams. Every monthly goal win is a cause for celebration followed by assessment and refinement. Every monthly goal loss is a lesson on what the company, as a whole, needs to do better.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click below to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They will appreciate it.

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