How might you looking back on the end of another year? In satisfaction or regret? Could not having Goals have anything to do with it?
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With the end of the calendar year approaching, I recently promised a bunch of articles that may prove useful for you in what we often call “The Silly Season”. A period where we often slow down, enabling us to reflect on how we’ve gone . What worked and what didn’t. As a coach, I’m known to strongly challenge those wanting to “raise their game” so that they put together a plan that they confidently believe they can achieve for themselves, and then choose to be held accountable to meeting or exceeding their expectations. I’m hoping you will allow me to do that for you today, too so there can be no doubts as to what you’ll be looking back on next year this time.
You see, what I’ve learned, is that there isn’t a huge chasm between success and failure. There are usually only a few key differences that make all the difference. I know that many of you have worked really hard again this year, right? Most do. But it isn’t only the “hard” work that matters. Yep, you guessed it, it’s also the “working smart” that really matters. By that I mean you stacking the odds in your favour.
So what do I mean by that?
Well, every great initiative starts with a picture of a desired outcome in someone’s mind. Some call it a vision. Some call it a dream. If it’s something truly worthwhile to its originator, it usually stimulates great excitement and energy. The first critical juncture here is whether it will stay a dream or whether it is going to become an initiative. That requires a decision. And a time-frame.
Of course it will now need a plan. What differentiates Goals and Plans from Dreams, is that they have a date on them. They have a description of what the final outcome is going to look like. The more passion and emotional language and images we can attach to the outline of this outcome, the more motivating and inspiring it will be so as to maintain momentum during the bumpy periods. The plan needs to estimate the required resources; the different tasks and steps it will need to be built or developed and implemented. It usually needs to consider funding. It needs to assess the risks. It needs the right people and skills and attitudes. It needs the right inspired leadership. Above all, it needs to help everyone involved get fired up about it being a worthwhile endeavour that meets their What’s In It For Me?
My experience suggests it also needs specific Goals to make the plan work. There is so much written on goal setting. In my Goals Trilogy I highlight key drivers that make goal setting work so well. I differentiate results goals from activity goals which is where dependencies of the different tasks plus the milestones to keep it on track become important monitoring and measurement aspects. I described critical factors that will increase the likelihood of your initiatives being successful by over 85% in Want To Turbocharge Your Goals?
Goals and New-Years resolutions. So What?
So what is the difference between Goals and New-years resolutions? New-years resolutions are often made in a (dare I say inebriated) state of euphoria. That state usually lacks the degree of commitment all the above aspects require. And so by the time we get to Easter, they are usually long forgotten, right?
That’s not to say numerous resolutions aren’t followed up with goals and plans, if their owner and originator had given them enough thought and substance beforehand.
The above Planning and Goal setting is the substance I have been talking about here.
So, if your reflection on the past year was one of regret, what are you going to do differently next year to avoid that same sinking feeling again a year from now? Do you think goals might have something to do with it?
Finally, the biggest driver to assuring the success of your endeavour? Finding a thinking partner, a sounding board, someone to challenge and test your thinking and then to hold you accountable to doing what it takes to succeed. This is the domain of the coach. And if this isn’t just for a business initiative but one critical to your life’s work, I recommend you finding an executive life coach that will help you cover all the required bases.