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Have you ever wondered what percentage of the wealthy actually wrote out goals, created a plan of action and diligently followed their plan through to completion?
Goals are like a little compass in your mind. They keep you going the right direction. Once your brain knows where it’s going, it has a better chance of actually getting you to your destination. But not just any goals will work; you need SMART Goals.
SMART Goals are:
Specific: Saying that you want to increase revenue in your business is an ambiguous goal, but it’s not a specific one. A specific goal is one that states you want to increase revenue by five percent this fiscal quarter by engaging in newspaper advertising.
Attainable: An attainable goal is something you can actually achieve; it is within your ability to accomplish within the time you allotted and within the framework specified. It’s a goal that won’t make you work eighteen hours a day, but it will be a challenge to reach.
Measurable: A measurable goal is one that is clearly visible; you know what you need to do and how to evaluate if you accomplished your mission or not. More importantly, your clients will also see or experience the benefit of you reaching your goal. Customers know when you’ve worked to improve your business and it often creates sense of loyalty within them.
Time-based: You need to accomplish your goal in a reasonable amount of time. For example, it shouldn’t take six months to add a phone line. If it does, you are either procrastinating or you need to find a new phone company! Establish when you want the goal completed and state a date or that you want it done tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.
When making plans, set goals using the SMART Goal system. Where do you see your business in 90 days? How about six months? Six years? Do you see yourself twice as big, or do you see yourself as twice as small? What goals need to be established to reach your business plans?
Why is it important to make goals? Why does this matter? Why go “goals digging”? An MBA survey a group of students compared their wealth over a span of 25 years. Of the students participating in the survey, 70% had no goals at all, 27% had verbal goals, and 3% had written goals. The last 3% had 98% of the wealth of the group. Now the question is, “When are you going to start planning out your own goals? Will you start today?”
Have you ever watched a three-year-old play? They have no fear. They will jump on a bed until they fall off, throw rocks until they hit an object, and have an imaginary tea party with Mr. Potato Head and call him a princess. Where along the way to adulthood do we lose this wonderful lack of fear?
Developmentalist will tell you it happens as children experiment and are told by others that it isn’t right, good enough, or to do “it” exactly the way the grownup wants it to be done. This usually takes place between the ages of four and five. But ah the three-year-old, no fear here, and if you try to tell them how to do it, they just ignore you and go about doing it their own way.
Are there lessons we could learn from the three-year-old? Let’s explore a few traits of a toddler:
- Taking risks, like jumping on a bed until you fall off, is dangerous. But taking risks within defined boundaries or perimeters is healthy and vital for a growing business.
- Throwing rocks without care will almost always end in a disaster. However, having a target you are aiming at, a goal that is well thought through and executed makes a huge difference in a leader that succeeds and those that don’t.
- You may not have tea parties with Mr. Potato Head any longer, but using visualization to dream and envision the future of your business can be extremely beneficial.
Maybe we need to bring the inner three-year-old out of us a bit more. Take a few more risks and dream a few more dreams.
The dictionary defines Empower as a verb and meaning to delegate power or authority to authorize or to enable or permit. Interestingly the word has become a contemporary buzzword. Yet the word empower is not new, having arisen in the mid-17th century with the legalistic meaning "to invest with authority, authorize." Shortly thereafter it began to be used with an infinitive in a more general way meaning "to enable or permit.
Being empowered provides people with a great deal of ownership, authority, and responsibility. Yet, often people are empowered to make changes yet, don’t take advantage of that responsibility and loose the opportunity being presented to them.
Being empowered really has two aspects. One is being empowered – someone else provides you with the power. The second is where I believe many are missing the point. That is empowering themselves and making things happen. We have the power within ourselves to do far more than we think we can. What stands in our way are often false walls and obstacles that we believe stand in our way.
For example, one of my clients wanted and needed to hire someone else in her department. She continued to work long hours and cover for the shortage of staff and never considered that she had the power to actually make a hire. Now she needed to do the homework, show the need, lay out the responsibilities of this new hire and present it to the President. She never believed she could even ask for the new hire. Our conversation really took her back to why did she not believe she had the power to even ask. The answer was – the president knew of the shortage of staff and if he wanted to hire someone it should come from him. Wrong. Our conversation essentially empowered her to make the case. End result was she not only got one person, she got two.
Another example is a friend of mine was talking about writing a cook book, since she is a wonderful chef. In asking why she had never written it, she stated she didn’t know how to get it published. My response was, just write it, I will help you get it published. She had been empowered all the time to make something happen, but had let a false wall and obstacle stand in her way. I removed that wall, but it is something she could have done. Now the question is whether she will really make it happen or if the not knowing how to publish was just an excuse. That is an entirely different discussion.
My challenge to you is how are you pushing away the empowerment you have been given. Stop letting things stand in your way. Empower yourself and make things happen.
I just returned from a refreshing five day journey visiting colleges in California. It was refreshing in multiple ways. One was the weather, (Colorado was being hammered by snow), but more importantly was actually seeing an excitement for learning on each campus. Hearing a student talk about how much they have learned, how excited they are to learn, and how they want to continue their education was inspiring.
Why so inspiring? We all need to continue to have a desire for learning long after we have gotten out of school. How about you? Do you continue to have an excitement to learn new things? Do you acknowledge that you don’t know everything and embrace the journey to learn more? The continued hunger for learning new things will enlarge who we are and what we will become, and needs to be central part of our daily lives.
Some people still have that yearn to learn. Some never acquired the desire to learn and some hung up the learning hat the day they graduated from school, whether that was high school, college, or graduate school. They felt they were done! We have all had a sense of that feeling. YES – no more classes, papers to write, or professors to please.
My challenge to you today is to develop a continuing education plan. What do you want to learn in this next week, next month, next year and next 30 years? I often speak of setting goals for your business and your personal life. Now I challenge you to set learning goals as well.
If you want some ideas of good books to read, then send me an email. I will help you create a learning plan to last a lifetime.
Most companies fail because they run out of cash. The following are several reasons that precipitate running out of cash and how to turn those reasons into success:
- Lack of critical thinking
- No market research or competitive analysis
- Confusing the product with the business
- Refusing to release control to others
- Failure to execute using acquired skills and tools
- Failure to innovate
Failure! One would think it is a 4 letter word. It is probably the most dreaded thought of a business owner. My business failed therefore I am a failure. First, that is not a true statement. Second, if a business does fail then there are a number of reasons for the failure. Thought must be given to why and what can be learned from business failures of others.
When we become so busy in the day to day operations of the business, we forget to step away and try to understand what is happening within the business, around the business and out in the real world. We forget to think critically.
Critical thinking...the awakening of the intellect to the study of itself
If you don’t study your business you can’t determine what changes need to be made or how to adapt to the changing environment around you. There are movies about Transformers. They adapt to the environments, dangers, opportunities and risks around them. Without critical thinking, and the resulting transformations you incorporate into your business, you risk the initiation of your ultimate fear, failure.
Critical thinking only happens when:
- you walk away from the day to day operations
- you read, observe, and educate yourself on what is going on around you
- you look at who is buying, what customers are purchasing
- you identify what customers are they truly looking for when they purchase your product or service
The practice I follow is to step away from my business once a month for a half day, and once a quarter for a full day. This isn’t just for planning the next month or quarter, but rather a time to gather a greater vision by reflecting on successes and challenges. It allows me to get away from the distractions of the office, and away from the responsibilities of home. During this time I strategize by reflecting on recent experiences; to learn from them, and look ahead to determine an even greater vision for the business. Critical thinking only happens when you allow your mind to be empty of day to day challenges, frustrations, and demands. It is truly a discipline that allows a gathering clarity, precision, relevance, reasoning, depth of analysis and experience. It is truly an opportunity to re-energize.
Failure to think critically about your business creates a vacuum of energy, direction, momentum and agility, all which lead to that first step down the road to your greatest fear.