If you’re planning for the new year, without planning the execution of your goals, what are you then planning for? It seems like a bizarre statement that most would think obvious. However, it happens all too often that businesses plan their year ahead by defining their goals, but never get down to the nitty gritty that is planning how they’ll get there. This is the reason we see too many businesses’ end goals become pipe dreams.
Why Are You Not Reaching Your Larger Goals?
Let’s explore some possible reasons that you might not be attaining your big business goals:
You’re caught up in the “whirlwind”
I frequently see organisations get swept up in the day-to-day operations of running the business – which Chris McChesney fittingly calls the “whirlwind”. These tasks generally feel urgent and that they must be done for the continued survival of the business. Unfortunately, prioritising the “whirlwind” can often destroy the execution of larger goals.
You have too many goals
Upon first glance, this may seem contradictory to the title of this article, however, understanding this is detrimental to achieving your business’ success. Too many goals, as well as unclear goals, can prevent your company from achieving any of its goals at all. My advice is to choose one, maximum two Wildly Important Goals (WIGs), and then put your focus and efforts on them. Alternatively, you could try to focus on all your WIGs at once, and due to a lack of capacity, likely never achieve any of them.
How CAN You Achieve Your Business Goals This Year?
Now that we’ve briefly discussed what not to do when attempting to execute your WIGs, let’s talk about how you CAN achieve your goals this year:
Involve your team
Executing your WIG – also referred to as your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) – should be a team effort. Keeping this in mind, I would advise that you bring your team into the process of defining your WIG. Why? Because a team who is involved in the direction of a business, is a team who is personally convicted and committed to its success. This doesn’t mean that each and every employee should have a say in big business decisions, however, the entire staff – down to the maintenance workers – should not only be aware, but should understand the direction of the company. This is how you encourage your staff to buy into your company goals.
Choose your WIG carefully
Ask your team which one area of your business’ performance they would want to improve. Thereafter, make a shortlist including the improvements that could fit into and contribute to achieving a greater goal.
Being ‘conservative’ won’t achieve anything. Ensure that your WIG is a challenge, but still achievable.
Find a balance between big and small goals
A rule of thumb is that no team should focus on two WIGs at one time. Instead, give your teams one big goal to work towards at a time.
As critical as day-to-day operations are to your business’ function, without intentional time set aside for your WIG, your business will never grow. Sharpen your strategy by dedicating 80% of your team’s time and energy to the running of your business, and then allocate at least 20% of their time to focusing on your WIG.
Set your sights on driving results
Let’s talk about lag and lead measures (terms we have adopted from Franklin Covey’ book on the 4 Disciplines of Execution). Lag measures tell you whether you have achieved your WIG – whether that is based on revenue, profit, customer satisfaction, etc. Lead measures tell you whether what you are currently doing is likely to result in you achieving your goal.
Lead measures are activities and sub goals that can be immediately acted upon, and which should achieve your lag measures. Because your team has a direct influence on these lead measures, it’s important that they are involved in choosing or discussing them on a regular basis. My advice would be to frequently gather your team together to brainstorm new ways to reach your company’s WIG.
Track your progress
Keep a scoreboard on your goals, in the form of KPIs for instance. Make your progress visible at all times, in order to encourage your team to keep track of their achievements. I believe that a visible scoreboard will take a team forward. These should show both leading and lagging measures, as well as actions and their results.
Keep your team accountable
This is how you can ensure your team stays on track to achieving your company goals. It’s critical that you hold regular, consistent meetings that cover each team member’s responsibility in executing your WIG. Here at Summit, we hold a weekly meeting where we account for our team’s progress. Along with this, we hold short, scheduled check-ins on a daily basis, where each team member shares their progress, intentions and any important learnings.
We strongly believe in planning for the execution of your goals. We apply all of these principles to our internal team here at Summit, in order to ensure that we can assist your organisation to achieve your ‘Wildly Important Goals’ through practising these execution principles. Get in touch with our team today, and let’s plan for a successful year ahead.
About the Author
Sunel de Coning, Head: Sales and Operations for Summit
Sunel has a passion for making teams more productive and business more successful. A business strategist and marketer by profession, she strives to develop innovative plans and activities designed to facilitate competitive growth, juggling different projects, in the pursuit of achieving tight deadlines and quality deliverables.
With her dynamic approach to leadership, big-picture thinker, catalyst for change and innovator – she brings to the team extensive experience in marketing, sales, operational management and agile project management. With over 24 years’ experience in the education and training sector she developed and executed numerous strategic and commercial growth initiatives in pursuit of sustainable business value.
She has great enthusiasm for innovation and loves the journey from uncovering insights to the creation of new business. With her drive to stay ahead of the game, she works closely with the executive team on how to build innovative practices and innovative solutions to achieve the highest level of growth and customer satisfaction.