Setting smarter goals starts with a mindset.
2016 is just a couple of days away.
Many businesspeople know that the change in the calendar year is a great time to set goals for the next year.
But not too many know that there is a step prior to setting goals – the mindset.
Smart businesspeople know that there is no straight path to success. There are many confusing twists and turns, and it’s easy to get lost. To simply keep moving to try to find your way out is counterproductive.
Just ask Richard Bauer.
Richard Bauer was a hiking enthusiast. A resident of Southern Oregon, he particularly enjoyed climbing Humbug Mountain – a 1,762 foot-high mountain in the region.
One balmy spring afternoon, Richard set out on another trip up his favorite mountain.
It took Richard about 2 hours to reach the peak, where he stopped to eat a quick snack and take in the spectacular view.
On his way down, Richard decided to venture off the familiar trail he usually followed. After all, he was a skilled hiker and had a good knowledge of the mountain. It was time for a little extra challenge.
It was definitely a tougher trek. There was no clear path – just a lot of jagged rocks to climb over. However, it was the challenging thrill he sought.
Some time later, he realized he couldn’t see the main trail anymore.
But Richard wasn’t panicked. After all, he had decades of hiking experience and a great sense of direction. He was confident he could find his way down.
He walked for another hour and a half towards what he presumed what was the right direction, only to find his way blocked by thick shrubbery and fallen trees.
The weather was getting chilly now, and dusk was fast approaching. Richard now had to accept the fact that he was lost. He knew that the first rule for a lost hiker is to stop moving and determine their location. He paused to take in his surroundings and took out his map.
Scanning the paper, he realized that the blocked area actually ran parallel to the main trail. He also noticed that the map indicated there were certain identifying marks that would’ve helped him avoid getting lost to begin with.
Richard now knew where he was and what to look out for in order to get back.
In no time at all, he found the main trail and continued on his way.
There’s a lot to be learned from this story.
Far too often, I hear people say “I have a new goal moving forward”, or “from now on my goal is ‘x’”, without putting much thought into it.
But that’s not the proper mindset when setting goals.
Goals don’t work based on what you want or feel. You first have to determine what your business needs and how that fits with your team’s diverse skill set.
With this in mind, here are 3 Ptex Practical Pointers to consider before setting goals:
Stop Moving – Don’t just move for the sake of moving. Stop. Check your “business map.” Where do you stand right now? Do you have a plan? Are you following that plan? Are you heading towards your intended destination?
How’d You Get Here – Look for signs that can tell you where your business stands. These are known in the industry as KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators. How did you get to this point? Determine your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your team’s capabilities.
What’s the Next Step – You’ve determined where your business stands. You’ve figured out how you got here. Now it’s time to take what you know and apply it to your goals for the future – and how you will get there. Determine what you will focus on and what you will avoid going forward.
Above all else, you have to set SMART goals. Don’t use cliches like “I want to grow my business” or “I want to increase sales”. That’s everyone’s goal.
A SMART goal, on the other hand, will look something like this: “I want to utilize my referral base to increase sales by 3%.”
Remember, don’t be afraid to ask others for direction. Consult with your staff. Ask customers or clients for feedback. Often, the best feedback comes from sources you’d least expect.
Getting into the proper mindset before setting goals is a daunting task, but the payoff is very rewarding. So grab a pen and paper and brainstorm what you’d like to see happen for 2016.
Onward and Upward,
P.S. Got a goal for 2016 planned already? I’d love to hear it. Feel free to comment below and “Let’s Talk”.
P.P.S. Feel that others may benefit from what was mentioned here? Please share with them.