We talked about goals in January… do you remember what your goal was? Well I’m here to get you back on track and kick Q4’s ass. So… What are your Q4 goals? Do you have a sales number you are trying to hit? How about providing benefits to your team? What about implementing a new process you heard great things about? Whatever that goals is, you will need a process, a way of keeping the team accountable and a point person. Sounds simple right… so let's do this.
First things first – The Goal
What is your goal? Whatever your goal is just make sure it supports your company vision. Will accomplishing this goal move you closer to your “end game”?
I suggest you make this goal something that may be just out of reach. If you have a goal of accomplishing something that sounds “totally doable” that may not provide the growth you seek or the team energy that you desire. If your sales were $300k last year and you are on track for $400K, make your goal $500K. You know the saying, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” That doesn’t sound so terrible. By creating a challenge you will not only learn so much more about yourself, you will also learn a ton about your team. Plus… imagine if you did hit that goal… maybe you get that extra revenue, or land that extra client, or sell that old inventory…. that wouldn’t be so terrible either. Make your goal something you can be proud of and something that sounds just a bit out of reach or a tiny bit terrifying to conquer.
Once You have the Goal, You Need the Process
We all know processes make things easier by having a list of each task needed to complete something larger. Everyone can appreciate knowing the big picture and having a roadmap to get them there. After making a goal create a process, a roadmap, a cheat sheet for you and your team. List each task needed to complete the big picture. Be detailed! Don’t set your team up for failure. Take the time to get all the information into a single location so anyone involved can see what’s happening with that goal. There are a ton of task management system I have and/or can recommend, but if you are looking for something simple and free there are a ton of templates for Excel and Google Sheets that can get you started.
From Processes to Point Person
While I know all of you business owners are very capable of accomplishing all your company goals, why are you doing it alone? You have a team. Probably a great team. You hired them because they were the right fit for your company. They have what it takes. While you have great ideas and the capability to complete them, I’m sure you DO NOT have the capacity. You are busy!!! Find a team member that can be the point person for this goal. They can come to you if they need anything. If you are leery of someone else managing this, schedule a quick 20 minute meeting once a week so you can see what happening. Discuss goal status, roadblocks, accomplishments…. anything you think should be addressed. Your point person may need your help on a specific task. Help them and then get out of their way! If you are struggling with this theory, please read Rocket Fuel. This book changed everything within my business and made me and my “integrator” realize we are perfectly ok not being perfect.
Creating and Hitting Deadlines
After determining what task are needed to accomplish this goal, its time to set due dates for each task in the process. Be realistic in your timeline and have all team member participating in this goal, put their tasks on their calendar. Your team will appreciate these deadlines, and having it scheduled within their day(s). This is not only to hold the team accountable, but to also make them feel less overwhelmed about their responsibilities. Plus, they will be more likely to accomplish those tasks. Charlotte Blank, Laura M. Giurge, Laurel Newman, and Ashley Whillans of Harvard Business review did a study that explains this human behavior. Their article Getting your team to meet more deadlines is a quick read and will shed a ton of light on why deadlines are so important in your organization. The simplified version of their article explains that deadlines create happier employees, that are less overwhelmed who feel more productive. I encourage you to take the time to read it.
Now that I have given you the outline on getting these goals started, let me give you an example why this process is SO important:
Imagine somebody challenged you to create their grandmother’s famous dish for a dinner party they are hosting. You have two options; You can either have someone explain the dish to you and then you would prepare it from memory with no deadline, or you can have the recipe in hand but you have a reasonable deadline? Which would you pick? Which one would the dinner party host pick? Which dish do you think would be more appetizing for the guests? Which dish do you think would be on time for the dinner party?
Now let’s make this a bit bigger. Imagine your team is challenged to prepare a 7-course meal. Each team member is in charge of one of the 7 courses. You are in charge of presenting each dish to the table on time. Do you think your team would be better off if you just told them the dish they will be creating, or would you rather them have the recipe in their hot little hands with a timeline of when their course will be presented to the table?
I think your getting my point…. But just to drive it home one last time…. Your team needs clarity on where the business is going (your goals), how its getting there (the process) and who is responsible for what (point person). This will ensure your goals are done accurately and on time. You will be happier and your team will feel accomplished. What is better than that?
Now go conquer your Q4 goals and let me know how you did!