How close are you to reaching your year-end goals? Are you 75% of the way there?
Whether you are trying to hit a sales target, or revenue target how are you doing? Maybe you are trying to lose weight or reduce personal expenses. Do you know where you stand?
This line of questioning assumes quite a few things that are generally not true in our world today.
First, there is the assumption that you really do have a specific goal that you are trying to attain. It is amazing to me how many people do not set real goals. Goals in your head are mushy and iffy at best. It is like the guy who told his wife he was going to 25 pound in January and then in December claims that he said it was 5 pounds. We wouldn’t dare write it down; because we know our wives will find it and show it to us in December.
Second, there is the assumption that you know where you are right now in relationship to that goal. One of the first things to go in the demise of our goals is keeping track of where we are. Instead, we go with the gut. Yeah, I’m doing all right! I haven’t balanced my bank accounts or my accounting software lately but I have some money in the bank and some people owe me money so I am doing… okay! I haven’t stepped on the scale but I haven’t changed dress sizes so I must be doing okay. But do you know where you are compared to your goal?
Third, there is the assumption that having set the goal, knowing where you are, that you put together some type of plan and are following that plan to achieve the goal. Many people have the plan of “just work harder”, “put in some extra time”, “just keep going it has to turn around sometime”! Hope is not a strategy and winging it is not a plan. You need a real plan!!
Finally, there is the assumption that if you are not going to reach your goal at the current projections, that you know how to change your action plan to still reach the goal. But of course if you knew how to produce more than you are currently doing, you would already be doing it right? We sometimes forget that the plan that was designed nine months ago may not be sufficient and with new data and opportunities that arise in those months you might be able to increase productivity.
So now what?
What do we do here at the start of the fourth quarter? There are several things that you have to do if you are going to turn around a plan that is falling short.
First, make the first three assumptions real. Clarify and rewrite your goals. Figure out exactly where you are today. Do the work to balance the books, step on the scale, etc. Review your plan to see if you are following it or not. An honest look at the plan and the reality of your life may be just enough to show you that you can still make it.
Second, take a hard look at what are the obstacles that you are facing to reach your goal. This is very important and most people skip by this one and it can cost them. Take the time to clearly outline all of the obstacles that are preventing you from achieving your goal. The better that you are able to describe your obstacles, the more likely you will be able to overcome them. Don’t say, I don’t have enough time. Be specific, what else is demanding your time and preventing you from achieving your goal?
Now, here is the hardest part. Finally, you must change what you have been doing, if what you have been doing is not getting it done. The hard part here is the mental game. The argument is “if it were possible I would have thought of it already”. Or, “I can’t work any harder.” But if anyone is able to produce more with less time and effort, then you can. All it takes is learning how to shift gears and then stepping on it.
Look at your greatest achievements for the last 9 months or longer. What was it about that sale, new customer, loss of weight, or whatever that gave you a higher return on your investment of energy, time and money than other activities? Can those mini-successes be duplicated again? Are there small changes that you can make that would make them happen again? What are your greatest strengths profit-wise? What activities produce the most profit? How can you concentrate on those and maximize your time and energy?
Now is not the time to give up!
Now is the time to focus and renew your commitment to your renewed and clarified goals by working smarter, figure out where you are, list your obstacles, decide what you are going to do to overcome them and then track how you are progressing. If you have set worthwhile goals than it will be worth you investing some time to make sure that you reach them. Of course, it starts with setting a real worthwhile goal.
Stan Broesder, is a Management Consultant and Business Coach who lives in Lincolnton, NC. He has worked with small businesses for over 20 years. He has a Masters in Business Administration degree and specializes in helping business owners to improve their productivity, profitability and control of their business and life. His clients enjoy less stress, greater sense of purpose, an increase in productivity and greater profitability. You can find out more about Stan on his website: www.MYCrossroadsConsultants.com, call him at 980-241-0189, or email him at: Stan@MYCrossroadsConsultants.com