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Setting Big Business Goals Can Be Destructive

Last updated January 15, 2016

Goal setting can be tricky. It’s tempting to say that you’re going to double the business in 3 years; uplift sales by 40% next year or lose a stone in weight. All very valid goals but life is littered with goals that, in the end, we didn’t hit, stopped striving for or believing in.

Sometimes a goal can just be too big; The Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). Or too daunting or scary to really believe that you can achieve them; even when they are the right goal. We get fixated on the big number; a stone in weight and when progress seems to be slow we become disillusioned and give up. Not a conscious decision; it just drifts away and soon is forgotten.

Later frustration sets in when we revisit our original target goal (usually too close to the deadline date) only to find we’re still miles away. We set about changing everything; trying something new because the last thing you did didn’t work. In fact, it didn’t work because you didn’t keep up the action, focus or give it time. You can’t lose a stone I a week; it takes time and minor adjustments to achieve the goal.

Your business is no different.

Related Article: Is a High Growth The Right Strategy?

As we start a new year with new goals, I want to say ‘well done’ for actually setting some goals. That’s a great first step. But perhaps a different focus on goals could make a big difference. After all, if you do what you have always done you’ll always get the same result.

Me, I favour goal setting, with a set of mini goals that underpin the overall goal. Achieve every mini goal and I will achieve my overall goal. Not so daunting and my mini goals helps to keep the momentum going.

An alternative is to set small targets more often. The 1% improvement plan. For example, if you increase your income by 1% and cut your costs by 1% then you have a 2% overall improvement.

It was this philosophy of marginal gains that enabled Dave Brailsford to transform the British Cycling team from one bronze medal at the Atlanta games to almost a clean sweep of gold at London 2012.

Well done for setting goals but have you set the mini goals (and actions) to underpin the BHAG?

shirley-mansfield-CoachSME
Shirley Mansfield
Master Business Problem Solver

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