Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why Setting Goals is Not Enough: The Art of Execution

Set Your Goals! Here We Go Again!
Yes we know all that. Our coaches tell us to set our personal goals. We set the business strategy. We make New Years resolutions. Big deal!
So why, despite the enormous effort we put into goal setting, are we just not hitting them.

Because Goal Setting is The Easy Part
We get excited about new possibilities, new plans, new opportunities.
What a buzz! What an energy lift. And if we’re in a team, we begin to feel great about each other. But then what? We get busy, we put the plan away. Stuff comes up, priorities change.

Excuses, excuses, excuses!
The Key Reason You and Your Business Have Still Not Reached Your potential. Three words, that simple. Failure to execute-An unwillingness or inability to take action. Come on, you know you need to save, to invest; you just haven’t got around to it yet. You know you need to exercise every morning you just haven’t got around to it yet.

So What Leads To This Failure?


An inconsistent approach to execution and the “Big Bang” theory. Waiting for your big bonus before you begin to invest or take your big holiday and get your health back in order, rather than lots of mini vacations everyday.

Gong! Thank you for playing.
It’s never the “Big Bang” that will save you. It’s consistent small incremental steps, done on a daily, weekly, monthly basis that gives you your success.

So How Come You Don’t Take Action?
Well, It’s not really you’re fault. It’s your chemistry, your DNA, your hard wiring as a human being. You and everybody else on the planet are absolutely wired to avoid pain at any cost. Pain takes you out of your comfort zone. And these new actions for goal achievement are out of
your comfort zone.

Although you start to execute, with the greatest and most noble intentions, the first bit of stuff that stops you, wham! Into a brick wall, and you stop. And you do it over and over again, in so many aspects of your life and your business. In fact you become habituated to starting, stopping and failing.

But What If Everything I Said Doesn’t Happen For You Or Your Business?
Okay. So I’ve been a little harsh. You and your team are real doers. You continually push past the “inconsistent gene” and continue to take action. But you’re still not getting the results you could!
So How Come Despite All Our Great Actions We Still Don’t Get Results?
Once again very, very simple.

You just don’t measure.
The sustainable path to productivity is goals, followed by consistent actions over time, which are measured against progress towards your goal. Venture capitalists call this ‘Execution Intelligence’.
A leader’s track record of consistent results over time, irrespective of the industry they are in. This is the path to profitable, sustainable growth. The catch cry of every hot blooded entrepreneurial spirit.

How do I grow this puppy?
But I Am Measuring, We Do Measure and We’re Sill Not Achieving?
Well guess what? We’ve got an answer for that one as well. We measure too many things. We get so bogged down with data, the integrity of data, the timeliness of data, the interpretation of data. Doh! As Homer Simpson would say. And The Answer?
Only measure a few critical things in your life or your business. The Critical Drivers or measures that lead to your goals.

According to Brian Tracy, here are four simple measures:

1. Business & Career
Hourly Rate (Divide your take home pay by the hours worked in a year. This assumes you get paid according to the value you bring to the market place).

2. Family & Relationships
Face Time (The actual hours spent with family doing the mundane and the fun stuff . Kids spell love T.I.M.E.).

3. Money and Investments
Burn Rate (How much money I have as cash over the current lifestyle spend rate. E.g. if you have $200,000 cash and you go through $100,000 a year, your burn rate is 2 years).

4. Health & Fitness
Waist Size (This is a very “blokey” measure, but a more reliable one than just weight. You can put on a lot of kilos in muscle and look even better).

What’s my point? My point is get 3-5 measures for your LIFE, your TEAM, your BUSINESS. Educate people about these measures and use them as feedback towards your goal. So What Should I Measure In My Business?
Measure the critical success factors.The way to do this is brainstorm.
What are the things that go wrong when we have a bad month?
When sales are down, when the numbers aren’t hit. Most times what shows up in July was most probably caused in March or April.

For example if you’re a professional services firm:
# of Client Calls
# of Action Plans (Proposals)
# of Marketing Initiatives
# of time spent coaching your people

Just as long as the drivers are Business Critical.
Keep Asking the Following:
What happened that should not have? What didn’t happen that should have? Until you come up with some key drivers that everyone knows.
In fact, in ‘Good to Great’ they talk about One Big Number.
For example a retailer it could be “profit per square meter” which obviously has a number of measures which lead into it.

Sorry. We do all that!
1. We set the goals
2. We take consistent incremental steps towards them
3. We measure our progress with Key Critical Drives
And we are still not progressing as well as we want to.
“Ah! Here’s the rub” - It’s useless to measure, or survey or collect data if your not prepared to correct or change.

But Our People Do Correct!
You bet they do, but mostly they correct the plan. The goal. Because they’re not hitting the numbers they blame the numbers. Or even better, the nasty Senior Manager that “forced” them to write these impossible numbers in the first place. So one of our major problems as human beings or business is we dilute our goals. We rationalise and justify our failures by blaming the goals as not realistic.

Don’t change your plans, change your execution.
Never, never, never give up. Try a different way, a different method, a different person, a different strategy.
But don’t give up on your goals, particularly you’re personal goals.
This is your life!

So The Next Obvious Question is Why Do We Give Up Or Water Down Our Goals?
Quite simply, Belief. That’s right, there’s a part of us that just doesn’t believe we’ll hit our goals. And it wants so badly to succeed, it would rather change the goal and hit it, than fail. A lack of optimism makes us dilute our goals. And yet, beyond our greatest fears and doubts are our
greatest possibilities and freedoms.

This Is Where Leadership Comes In. Leadership for you personally and in the business. A leader faces reality, but never gives up hope. Leaders are dealers in hope. But, it’s not just hope or optimism, it’s also skill.
You see, if you or your team don’t have the skill to implement, then why did you set the plan in the first place.

Hope is not a methodology.
So when it goes wrong you can either fix the blame or fix the problem.
And the reason we got so excited about your plan, your Strategic Plan, where you all got great joy out of working on, this very important, very senior “business stuff ” is because it made you feel important for one brief day, workshop or off-site. You actually felt like a leader. Perhaps you were. But What If You Were Kidding Yourself Along with Everybody Else on Your Team? What if you were actually lying about your ability, the team, the business, to really be able to execute. It’s not that you lied, you just didn’t face the reality of the situation. Didn’t admit to feeling like an “impostor”. Pretended to understand when you didn’t because you didn’t want to appear dumb. Or just said yes because you wanted to go back to your “patch” and just get on with it.

The reason we often don’t meet our goals is our in built denial to tell it how it is. Never underestimate the power of denial.
We in fact sabotage goal achievement by telling ourselves lies, or by not facing the truth or “what is”. The “What is”, “What Ought” Gap
We continue to define the problem as the “Gap” between “what is” our current reality and “what ought” to be in the future. We label this the problem or we put new age terms on it “the challenge”, “the opportunity” and then we try to bridge the gap.

How Do We Try To Bridge the Gap?
Our old “lazibonesness” kicks in. With one large massive action. One big sweep. And it’s just too much to carry out. So what’s the key?

Just keep asking yourself the following:
“What’s one thing I can do today to move myself closer to my goals?”
What are things I can do to improve the situation? You didn’t get into your current situation by one big action, and you won’t get out of it either. It’s a series of steps, consistent, daily, predictable steps.
“What ordinary things consistently done well will produce extra ordinary results?” Continually look to improve things on a daily basis. The Problem “What Ought” to be in the future “What is” at present.
So Where Do I Get The Drive To Improve Things on a Daily Basis? In a word - Optimism.

Having worked with many entrepreneurs and senior leaders, this seems to be a trait of all constant ‘daily doers’. Not an over the top ‘rah, rah’, but an absolute belief that things will work out okay if I keep up the small stuff .
Of course the optimism needs to come from a sound business plan in the first place. A plan based on what the market really wants. The market is always right. If they don’t want your product or service, they won’t buy it. Yes I know the taste tests were excellent, the focus group before the launch had very positive results and all your friends and family said your idea was a winner.

But your family and friends don’t love the product. They love you.
It’s you they don’t want to disappoint. And you seem so wrapped up in your idea. What you could be suffering from is a case of G.A.G.I (Go out And Get It). That is go out and get new customers, market share and sales.
But what you really need is a good case of F.O.W.T.W (Find Out What They Want). That’s right, real optimism comes from basing your goals or something your client really, really, wants.

So How Do I Find Out What Clients Or Customers Really, Really Want?
Well you need to find out where your client or customers are hurting. This will always be the most pressing need. We all want to get better. But in times of pain, it’s pain relief and not health we are after. The quick fix.
We are more motivated to take an aspirin than the vitamins when we’ve got business headaches.

So the other reason why Strategic Plans are so flawed is they are often “disguised” aspirins wishfully looking for pain in the marketplace, rather than targeted medication for clearly identified pains. And, if at the core, your Senior Executives don’t really believe (optimism) that there is a real pain in the marketplace that you can alleviate, part of them will never really get 100% commitment to the plan or take consistent action steps to achieve it.

We only water the gardens we believe will grow.
Once even a small part of us stops believing in the goal, the strategy, the dream, the garden, our “psychological energy” is diminished.
Age wrinkles the skin but quitting wrinkles the soul.

Some Final Thoughts In Achieving Your Goals and Making Your Strategy Come To Life.

1. Rewrite your goals everyday, at least your top ten. Remind your team daily of the Top 3.

2. Make a plan everyday to do at least one action that will move you closer to your goals.

3. Have someone be accountable on a daily or at least a weekly basis. (This is the biggie).

4. Go out and make mistakes and admit when you do. Don’t protect, correct. A mistake is not a sin unless it is not admitted.
Hang around with optimists, believers who are doers. As Tony Robbins says, “we are the sum total of our five closest associates”.

And Finally the Most Important Lesson of All
Remember you are not your failures, nor are you your success. You are you. We love you for who you are, not what you do or what you have or haven’t achieved. You are not what you do.

At a party last month, someone told me their best friend committed suicide. A husband, a father, a businessman who had gone broke and couldn’t face the shame, the humiliation.

Never let your net worth equal your self worth. Keep working on yourself, enjoy the journey, be gentle on you and your mistakes, but keep it up on a
daily basis. If you want to make a great living work on your business. If you want to make a fortune, work on yourself.

So there we have it, a bullet proof plan for hitting your goals. Will you do it? And if you do what will be the last thought that goes through your mind before you die? Wow! That was spectacular.

Summary Points:
1. Set your Goals or Strategy
2. Create an Action Plan to achieve this
3. Do consistent actions on a daily basis
4. Measure progress towards your goals
5. Don’t have too many measures
6. Get honest with yourself and your team about the “what is”
7. Unleash your unbridled optimism
8. Base your optimism in real market needs
9. Go for pain alleviation
10. Admit your mistakes
11. Don’t equate your success with who you are
12. Make your life spectacular

Source: thehumanenterprise.com
image: wikihow.com