I have something I have to admit. For years I’ve been goal obsessed. Every year I would sit down and write goals on top of goals. Each one of the goals would have a numeric goal on what I wanted to accomplish.
Most of the time the goals I would develop were what we call “stretch goals.” These are goals we might hit if all of the stars line up together. That even made my problem worse.
Today’s video is going to be all about the world of goals and what you might have been doing is not being helpful for you. In fact, by the end of this video, I hope I’ve helped you understand having numeric goals may not be serving you well.
I have something I have to admit. For years I’ve been goal obsessed. Every year, I would sit down and write goals on top of goals. Each one of these goals would have a numeric purpose around it on what I wanted to accomplish.
Most of the time, the goals I would develop were what we call stretch goals. These are goals we might hit if all of the stars line up together. That even made my problem worse.
So, today’s video is going to be all about the world of goals and what you might have been doing that is not being helpful for you. In fact, by the end of this video, I hope I’ve helped you understand having numeric goals may be getting in your way and not serving you very well. So, let’s jump right in.
- Number one, numeric goals limit what you can accomplish. When I had my food service company, we went from having no hiring system to putting this hiring system into place, and as a result, our hiring process improved by about 200% literally overnight. Now, if I had been using numeric goals, I would’ve been happy with 15, 20%, maybe even 10% if that was right. But the fact was we did 20 times that what I expected by not having a goal and just putting something in place and seeing what happened. Most of the time, we make minor improvements, and then, every once in a while, a big breakthrough occurs. Now, that’s what happened with my hiring process and it wasn’t necessarily ’cause I didn’t have a stretch goal or any goal for that matter. It was just an experiment. Now, I think that that’s something that you might really wanna be thinking about it.
- Number two, better is a much more effective goal than a numeric goal. Measurement is still important. I don’t want you to stop measuring, I don’t want you to just put everything aside and put all your metrics away and not have dashboards and all that sort of stuff. Those are really important, but what you really wanna do is you wanna have enough. Whatever enough is should be your baseline and then, the goal after that should just be better. Now, most of the time, better will be just a little teeny bit, but every once in a while, you’re gonna have this great big improvement that you would never have expected, you would never have planned for, and you never would’ve probably tried because hey, you were looking for small improvements, not huge improvements. And huge improvements don’t come by all the time, but they do come by and you’re more likely to get them when you’re focusing on better and not a particular numeric goal. It’s almost impossible not to do better and you don’t have to make yourself into a loser, and that’s the problem with numeric goals. Most of the time with a numeric goal, especially if you’re using a stretch goal, what you’re doing is you’re making yourself into a loser. I don’t want you to make yourself into a loser. I want you to be a winner and better allows you to be a winner more often.
- So, let’s talk about the problem with stretch goals. Too often, as I just said by using a stretch goal, you make yourself into a loser. Your stretch goal is often just a made-up number. It’s nothing that’s got any relationship to anything, and it’s too easy to get frustrated and quit. Now, I found this when we had these individual goals that we had within our company, and the folks who got ’em every month always went for ’em, and then, we would have a group that would sometimes get them and sometimes not. But after a week or two, if they weren’t on their way to getting that goal, they just quit. And then, we had a group of people that never got it and they never even tried, so instead of having a numeric goal for you and your people, why don’t you just try better and think about how that works?
- Now, another thing I want you to think about is what we call the principle of appreciative inquiry. Now, appreciative inquiry is where you build on what’s working, not trying to fix what’s broken. So, if you’re building on what’s working, it’s easier for you to get better, it’s easier for you to continue doing that, and you’re flexing that muscle that makes you world-class. Now, if you have some really glaring weaknesses, you need to know how to manage them, not know how to improve them. And that’s true for your company just as well as it is for you as an individual. And this is where I think better is more appropriate than a numeric goal because better just means, I’m gonna focus on what I’m doing well and see how I can make that a little bit better and a little bit better by trying lots of small experiments, and you know something? Sometimes, those small experiments are a 200% improvement in your hiring process.
- So, here’s what I want you to think about, these four things when setting goals.
- I want you to think about what you want to accomplish, and then,
- I want you to say, why does this make your life better, why does this make your business better? I want you to drill down on those why’s, and I want you to drill down on those why’s at least five times, if not seven or eight times. And by drilling down and drilling down and drilling down, you’re gonna get to a core reason which really gives you some great motivation for why you wanna become better and make your business and your life and yourself better than you were yesterday.
- So, another question I want you to ask, who is gonna be on your team? After you’ve drilled down, you go back and you take a look at what it is you’re trying to accomplish, you wanna say, who’s gonna be on the team, who’s gonna be on the team from our internal group, and who’s gonna be on our team from our external group? In other words, how are we gonna bring it in there and who do we have to bring in?
- And then, finally, I wanna ask, how are we gonna get there? So, instead of having a goal process, we have a process planning process where our purpose is to become better than we were yesterday and then, better as we were today. And we continue going for better and better and better, you’re gonna find you move a lot faster and get a whole lot better results.
So, are you willing to try dropping numeric goals and just go for better? Why don’t you scroll down and let me know what you think about this?
Hey, this is Josh Patrick and you’re at the Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
And while you’re at it, why don’t you DOWNLOAD our Free eBook on Simplified Business Budgeting? You’ll find a way to do a budget for your company that’s easy to do and might actually get used by the people in your company. So, thanks a lot. I hope to see you back here really soon.