Several weeks ago I began to explore why so many of us are ineffective at setting and achieving goals in our personal and professional lives.
In my last two blogs, I have addressed those who don’t set goals at all, somehow believing no one will notice you’ve fallen short. You have what I call “Fear Of Success.” I have also addressed those who set goals aimed at “minimum performance,” or too many goals, or goals that are unrealistic or “squishy.” You lack effective goal setting skills and therefore, “Don’t Know How.”
Now I’m focused on those who are effective at “goal setting” but not at “goal achieving.” Although you are diligent in the goal setting process, the process is not “difference making.” My question for you is: “Do You Really Want It?”
When you set 3 to 5 “stretch “goals that are tied to your role and firm strategy, focused primarily on your areas of strength, that are specific, measurable, realistic, written and shared, you have taken a HUGE and important first step. But if you simply place your neatly typed “effective” goals in a file folder awaiting your annual evaluation, you may lack commitment. It’s not only what you put down on paper that achieves the goal. Instead, it takes hard work and “walking the talk” to get the job done.
So if you’re serious about achieving your goals, if you “really want it,” then you must to submit to a process of accountability, which includes:
- Sharing your goals with others – boldly and openly
- Asking a mentor to hold you accountable
- Establishing a “return and report” process with interim action steps and milestones
- Reviewing your goals regularly and frequently
- Breaking your goals into “bite-sized” pieces each with their own “by-when” dates
- “Establishing momentum” by taking action to complete the first action step right away
- Identifying any “pieces” that can be delegated or assigned to others
- Getting better at skills needed to achieve your goals (e.g., delegation, time management)
Taking these actions shows that you are serious about achieving your goals. These steps help to knock down the barriers, distractions and procrastination that can sabotage your success. But these steps are not enough. Achieving your goals still takes hard work and effort. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
In the words of executive Albert E.N. Gray, “The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every man [or woman] who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that he [or she] formed the habit of doing things that failures don't like to do.”
In the end, it’s results that matter. Are you willing to do the difficult and sometimes “distasteful” things that those who fall short are unwilling to do? Are you willing to start by setting one “stretch” goal to achieve something important and significant to you? Are you willing to get better, to learn from failure, to change your ways, and to do the hard work that is required? Do You Really Want Success?
We will continue to help our clients succeed by setting and, most importantly, achieving their goals. In the meantime, if you have any ideas or experiences to share on this subject, please post them so others can benefit.