People spend a lot of time working on their success. It is what we all crave. More clients. Huge piles of money. Better equipment. I’m sure you have a list.
But what follows when you achieve that goal?
You wanted to hit a million dollars a year in sales. Congratulations! You did it.
Whatever goals you set will also insert new challenges and friction points you haven’t considered, which is what this article is about. After the party ends, we still have to clean up and take out the trash.
Hitting that Goal
I’m a big believer in goal setting and constructing a plan to achieve that goal. After all, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Goals give us direction. And the great thing is that they can be virtually anything. It is always good to visualize planting a flag on your dream mountain and determining how to get there.
It is an amazing feeling when you hit the goal you blocked off! Celebrate good times, c’mon! Make sure you enjoy the moment with your team and any supporters who helped you in your victory. They need to know that you appreciate them.
But shortly after that happy dance, someone will ask, “What are we gonna do now?”
It is a natural question. Here’s how to formulate the answer.
First, we don’t want a letdown. As people, after there has been a tremendous amount of effort, thought, and emotion built into achieving a goal, we may want a vacation. Take some time off. Relax a little bit.
While that is understandable and probably important, you will want to get back to work with a new challenge soon. Any gains made should not backslide into old habits.
Take some time and ensure that the processes, procedures, and culture you worked to achieve stick. These are important and need to flourish. If you haven’t already, document how your secret rocket sauce is made. This is how new people will learn and how you can hold the old team accountable.
“This is the way we do things here” is a powerful statement if that led to your success.
If you have found success, it is important that everyone on your team take a minute and reflect. One great exercise is having everyone detail their thoughts on hitting the goal. If you want to achieve another goal, spending a few minutes reflecting can help you visualize what you might need to do with the new goal you will create.
- Friction points. What slowed you down along the way? How did you learn to minimize these?
- Communication. How did communication play a factor in achieving your goal? Is there a way to foster more communication or do it in a better way?
- Automation. What type of automation can you add to help the team?
- Mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. I know I do. Where were yours, and how could you have avoided them?
- Time. Consider how you used time with deadlines. When you gave assignments with due dates, did they work? What got you off track?
- Prioritizing. How did you prioritize tasks and work?
- Waiting. Was someone waiting on someone else? How can you minimize that?
- Data. They say you can’t manage what you don’t measure. How are you measuring? What are you doing to ensure that your data is accurate? How are you showing or using the data to make decisions?
- Other stakeholders. What do your customers, suppliers, or employees think about your achievement? Did it make their lives or engagement with you better in some way?
Gather and collate everyone’s independent thoughts on these points into a report. Review the final information with your team. Get everyone’s thoughts together and discuss what processes, procedures, training, or communication your company should change to achieve your next big goal.
After you’ve caught your breath, it is important that a new goal be set. What do you want to achieve next?
Setting a goal somewhere over the horizon will allow your team to head in that direction and give purpose to their effort. People don’t want to wander around in circles or become stagnant. They want to be inspired. To give meaning to their work.
Goals can create power and energy, especially if the team helps create them. If the goal is something that is set for them, without their input or involvement, it won’t mean as much. Someone once told me, “Man supports what he helps create.” I’ve found this to be 100% accurate.
Tips for Setting New Goals
I can’t set the goals for you. You have to do that. However, I can help guide you through a goal-setting process, and maybe you’ll have a better shot at hitting the target.
Try these questions or points on for size:
- Write out your goal in the SMART goal format. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound)
- Get feedback and input from everyone involved. “Our” goal is much more powerful than “The” goal.
- Make the goal visible. It should stare you in the face every day.
- Make it difficult to do the wrong thing. Can you remove the friction so achieving the goal is easier?
- Who else can help? Maybe you need to bring in someone to help. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand.
- Ask, “What happens if we do nothing?”
- Quantify results with numbers. What is a good number, and what is a bad number?
- Set benchmarks. On this date, we should be here.
- Set up accountability. Someone has to be in charge and own the result.
- Chart out the action steps needed. A checklist with fields for “Who” is doing something with a “Due Date” works great.
Be Prepared For What You Don’t Know
When you set goals, there is a bit of naivete regarding what happens when you are successful. Many times, new challenges will surface that nobody considered as you will be in unchartered territory.
For example, let’s say your dream came true, and that top client you always wanted is now doing business with you. Previously, you only brought in about five to ten orders a day. Now, you get thirty-five a day just from this one client. It is overwhelming your system, people, and production schedule.
Nobody considers what happens if something becomes successful at a grand level. One thing to consider is what you would need if you not only achieved your goal but doubled or tripled it. (or more) Where is the edge out there when your team starts drowning?
What would you do? Get a game plan set up for this scenario.
It just might happen.
“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” – Dale Carnegie
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso
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