Five Reasons Why We Need To Set Goals

You hear about setting goals all of the time. Yet according to one study, only about 6% of Americans actually have a written goals program that they use.

“I know I’m supposed to write out my goals, but who has time? Besides, it doesn’t really help me anyway!”  Sound familiar? Well here are five very important and logical reasons why you should set goals and use them in your everyday life and business.

  1. Clarity

Most people say they have goals, but the reality all they have are ideas and wishes. The “Someday I’ll” claim is just a dream like that island vacation that you’ve talked about for years, but never make a goal.

Often we talk about doing something but it is in such vague terms that your brain doesn’t really know how to process it. To say you want to lose weight or be a better husband is so general that it cannot translate into actions that can become habits. To say I’m cutting out soda or I’m going to bring my wife some flowers is at least clearer than “less sugar” or be “better.”

  1. Emotions

Too often our emotions get in the way of what we really want to accomplish. Anything from fear, anxiety or even love and passion can steer us away from achieving our goals at a moment’s notice. Using a goals program or even just a goals list for the day will help keep you on track.

Think about grocery shopping. A young couple on a very tight budget will do well to write down only what they need until they get paid again. But when chocolate is tempting they can blow the budget (financial goal). A shopping list and budget will help them to reach their goals.

  1. Distractions

We allow so many distractions to come into our lives that we can lose focus on the important things. The terms “squirrel” or “rabbit trail” picture the idea of something that takes away from our current thinking.

Unfortunately, distractions can happen and we don’t even realize it. We often set ourselves up for distractions. We have cluttered desks, email notifications… “oh look it’s a puppy on Facebook, how cute, I have to send this to…” I’m sorry I got distracted.

When we develop a habit of looking at our goals we are reminded of what we are supposed to be doing and how important it is in the scheme of our lives. Some people use different systems to help keep the squirrels away and stay more focused. But it starts with having a clear goal.

  1. Manipulation by others

This is a hard one for many people. When you have set clear goals you are better at making decisions that relate to or affect other people. When you have a very important and tight deadline, like a report due to your boss in 15 minutes and you really need 30, you won’t allow the guy from down the hall to stop in and ask you if you saw the game last night.

When your goals are communicated to everyone on your team that needs to know, it helps to reduce the manipulation of others who waste your time. Again, systems can help to handle specific manipulations by others.

  1. “Oh yeah, I almost forgot!” – Memory

Without a grocery list, you have a really good chance of bringing home things you really probably shouldn’t (remember the “no soda” goal?). And then there is the irritation when you realize you FORGOT something you needed for dinner tonight, oops!

Our brains are great for processing data and thinking but it isn’t as good at storing data and information. So give your brain a hand and write out your goals so that it doesn’t have to remember the groceries or that you have a meeting, when, where, what it is about, and who should attend.

There is ONE more reason:

You set a good example for your team. Think about it, if everyone you knew really took goal setting seriously, and used it appropriately, meetings would start on time; everyone would be there on time and ready to go.

By setting goals your performance will improve and you will help others to improve their performance or at least you won’t be hindering it. So set a goal to set and use goals. Find someone who can help to keep you accountable for setting and using your goals.

If you would like more information on personal and professional management and performance contact Stan at Crossroads Consultants. Goals are just the beginning.

Stan Broesder with Crossroads Consultants is a Business Consultant-coach specializing in improving professional and business performance. Contact Stan @ 980-241-0189. OR


Do You Have Enough Diamonds in the Rough?

Will you find yourself at a disadvantage in your industry? Will your competitors be more agile and respond quicker to the changes in the market place giving them a competitive edge?

According to some “experts” as this economy turns around there will be many management and executive baby boomers who will exit the full time job market because their retirement portfolios will have recovered and they can afford to leave. That could cause a management and leadership vacuum in business. While this may seem contrary to the employment numbers that we are used to hearing about, the issue is skilled and experienced managers and executives.

According to David Delong in a HBR blog, only 20% believe that this will not be a problem.  What if the demand is such that your senior managers are hired for executive positions in your competition’s C-suite, or even other companies. If you have good people and I am sure you do, they are valuable to others as well.

Another thought is that it doesn’t really matter what the economy is doing in this regards. General Electric has produced more C-suite executives including presidents and CEO’s than any other company in the country. Why, because they are constantly developing leaders and those leaders are valuable. The alternative is to have a workforce and management team that is so, “not-so” valuable, that no one wants them. When there is upward mobility available within a company, those with the most potential will be interested in getting on board.

This issue works for small businesses as well. If you are even thinking of retiring in the next 15 years from your business, you need someone with the right skills to run it or your legacy and retirement may be in jeopardy. And in the mean-time having quality management enables you to be a business owner of a company instead of a business owner with a job. So what does a company do to reduce this risk of a leadership shortage regardless of how serious it might be?

One solution to this problem is giving current managers whatever they are looking for in a future career path. If it is more responsibility or money, you can try to accommodate them. But there is only one person in each seat in the C-suite and sometimes they are not willing to wait for someone else to retire.

Even if you have to create a culture that enables entry level executives or senior management to move on, there is value for your business in doing so. With proper planning you can minimize your competition from getting your well groomed talent and you get a reputation for a place that provides opportunities for valuable management candidates (within and outside your company).

The second solution revolves around a common issue in business. Develop the leadership and management skills in your employees so that there is always a source of high quality prospective management talent. A lot of companies resist this type of investment because they are afraid that the employee will leave. There are many aspects to this idea of investing in your employees for management. Hiring right to begin with is important. Make sure you look at knowledge and experience that you get, in exchange for training the skill set.

One example of how to accomplish this is to develop an excellent mentoring program. While the prospective management employee is being groomed through mentoring, have them mentoring others to move up into supervisor type positions. A good mentoring program benefits the whole organization, not just the management team.

If for some reason you are not where you want to be and wish your company had more opportunities, there are still things you can do to boost your potential. Take it upon yourself to learn about management skill sets and practice them wherever you are. You might not have the organizational formal authority, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop an informal leadership influence within the company.

Start thinking about how you can reduce the risk of having a shortage of quality management talent within your company. We have all seen what the lack of good management and leadership skills can do to a company and other organizations. Start looking for and polish those diamonds in the rough.