Goals provide the road map that guides us from where we are to our vision. Goals provide the description of the outcomes that will move us forward in the right direction. Goals are not the step by step instructions to get from here to there but more directional and more stable than action steps.
There are a lot of articles about goal setting out there but, what I have found is that many of the goals we think we are setting aren’t really goals and, even worse, often guide us in the wrong direction.
Research has proven that setting stretch goals is more motivating than easy goals or no goals at all. So, set big goals that require real effort to reach. And the second piece of the puzzle is to provide ongoing feedback on progress towards the goal. One of the tools to ongoing feedback is identifying performance measures that let you know if you are moving toward your goal.
Some of the goals that I see clients set are really performance measures rather than goals. It’s important to keep in mind that a goal is a specific, desirable, outcome that we want to achieve and a measurement is the output that will help us achieve it.
For example, if I want to build my connection to potential clients in order to grow my business my goal might be:
- To develop positive, active connections and relationships with potential clients.
Performance indicators may then include:
- Attend 10 events a month.
- Increase social media investment by 50%.
- Increase social media connections by 25% each month.
- Send X email messages to potential clients each month.
Here are some quick tips for developing strong goals and measuring performance along the way:
- Set stretch goals
- Make sure goals are outcomes rather than outputs
- Develop performance indicators for your goals
- Review progress towards goal and make adjustments if:
- The goals are actually moving you away from your vision
- The goals are causing behaviors that undermine your values and culture
Remember that goals are the guidance to achieving your vision. By keeping this in mind, you ensure that your business (and life) are more aligned and that you achieve your fullest potential with a sense of fulfillment and achievement.