Many people have a hard time finding the motivation to set goals. This is largely due to the very nature of goals and that they are in and of themselves a form of delayed gratification. That is goals are something that we wish to achieve in the future. The common adage, "don't expect what you don't inspect" can help in finding this motivation.
This adage is applicable in both our personal and business lives. When we break this adage down into two parts we first see the words don't expect. The act of expectation is really what we can think of as goal setting. What are goals? Goals are the objects of our ambition and effort. These expectations are vital in order to make sure we are moving in the right direction. Furthermore, goals can be used as valuable measurement in order to highlight success or judge failure. If you are not setting personal goals in business then you are limiting your ability to leverage your successes to you superiors and stakeholders. From a management perspective, if you don't set goals for your team then they will lack direction and guidance.
When it becomes time to you need to set both short-term and long-term goals. First, I recommend setting your long-term goals. We can do this by asking ourselves, what are the fundamentals that define success for our organization? Some examples of these are profitability, sales, customer's served, etc. It is important to accurately determine these before setting goals in order to insure that you are incentivizing the correct behavior.
On the other hand, short-term goals allow for faster gratification for your team or alternatively faster correction. If short-term goals are not being met then the team needs to know in order to get the ship set on the correct course. Furthermore, these short-term goals allow us to build team-cohesion and commitment to the goal setting process.
Now that we have briefly covered two types of goals we will revisit our adage, don't expect what you don't inspect. Since the goals are our expectations, we now need to review inspection. This is one of the most important parts of charting your goals to create opportunity for success. In and of themselves goals are useless if you don't inspect them. Are you on track for sales? If not, why? The second question is very important. Was the goal a stretch goal? Or is the goal an unrealistic goal? Do you need a new goal? Or is there a reason you aren't reaching your goal? If you ask and answer the tough questions you are more likely to be successful.
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