I remember learning about goal setting in both college and graduate school, which routinely led to an assignment to write goals for the year. And as I learned about creating, scaling, and managing businesses, the assignments became even bigger—create a five-year strategic plan for your company. Those were always painful assignments for me. Not because I didn’t believe in the power of goals, but because my professors expected to see 50 page plans with at least 20 goals.
So like all good business owners, I worked with department heads, and sometimes consultants, to create detailed strategic plans with pages of goals, charts, graphs, and statistics. Those plans were a thing of beauty with one small problem—by the end of the year we had only accomplished three or four of the goals. And the charts, graphs, and statistics made little, if any, difference in the outcomes.
When my leadership team and I implemented EOS®at my last company, our implementer introduced us to a simpler approach to strategic planning. We learned to write a handful of goals to achieve our annual plan. We focused on the three to seven priorities that would position us to look back on the year and know it was a great year. Not 20 goals—just three to seven. And of course, they had to be S.M.A.R.T., which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Take a look at the example below of two versions of the same goal:
Version 1: Improve our sales pipeline.
Version 2: Add $2M in qualified target market opportunities with an estimated close date before December 31st.
See the difference? Of course you do.
As an EOS Implementer™ I introduce additional considerations for great goal setting.
- Does each member of the leadership team know “what done looks like”?
- What could interfere with the company’s ability to complete these goals?
- How will the leadership team avoid that?
The value of this simplified approach is that we are prepared to actually achieve our annual goals—three to seven absolute priorities for the year. Now that’s a thing of beauty!
Simplifying goals can be difficult for business owners because they are so close to their own business. Sometimes an outside perspective can make a world of difference. Let’s talk one-on-one about streamlining your approach and setting realistic and impactful business goals. Simply use the consult form below to pick my goal-setting brain and request a free, 15-minute phone call. We can discuss goals, EOS®, or any other business topic that’s got you spinning your wheels. As we head into the second half of the year, now is the perfect time to launch a new effort to simplify, get S.M.A.R.T., and start making progress.