An organization without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.
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It will drift and not drive and will misconstrue activity with accomplishment. Goals keep you moving in the right direction. As you continue to grow your business, it will become apparent that progress has much to do with direction and much less to do with speed. Without goals, you may be moving really fast in the wrong direction.
But just how does one go about setting goals? As the owner or leader of a start-up, here are some things you must consider when setting goals.
Goals must be realistic
Setting a goal you do not believe is feasible is like starting a race you don't expect to win. Why start the race in the first place?
What usually happens when a goal is set that is not feasible is this: nothing. Usually most of the time is spent thinking about how impossible it will be to achieve the goal that absolutely nothing gets done which just leads to more frustration.
It is important when setting goals that you stay realistic and have a feasible way to accomplish the goal that has been set. This is not to say that the goal should not stretch you or your company to become better, but it should not be so daunting that people just freeze and become unmotivated. A good goal will always keep people motivated. An unrealistic goal will keep people stagnant.
Goals must include everyone
This second point is directly tied in with the first aspect of goals which is that they should be realistic. So it goes without saying that if a goal is to be realistic it must include all aspects of the organization.
To take this a step further, if the people in your organization do not believe something can be done then it is either up to you to build their belief that it can be accomplished or to readjust and reset the goal. Sometimes leaders feel that they must always be at the forefront of the decision making. In reality some of the best decisions, especially on goals, are made by going down in the management hierarchy and asking the very people who will most likely be doing most of the work. Make sure when goal setting you remember this.
Goals should have different ranges
One of the biggest mistakes when setting goals is to focus too much on the end result. It is important to begin with the end in mind but do not forget the beginning is just as, if not more, important than the end result. You should make sure when setting goals to split them up in order to be effective. You should have first your long-term goals. This may range from one to two years, to even five years. Yearly goals should be next, then quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, and ultimately daily goals.
Daily goals are usually the toughest to manage and stay consistent with and rightly so. If you can stay accountable to your daily goals and gradually progress to your weekly goals, you will see a dramatic change in your results and success in completing your goals.
Goals need to be communicated
This is vital in order to produce the maximum effort of everyone that is part of the organization. If the leader has a vision that is not shared with the rest of the organization then it does not qualify as a vision. Goals not communicated to an organization are as good as nothing.
Everyone should know what is expected of them to know how much effort to give and no when to push even harder. The management of short-term goals should be left to the individual leaders on the team but the communication of the long-term goal should be done by the leader of the entire group.