Lessons from Leaders: #1 Goals

What are your goals?

Steve Covey, the author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, urges us to begin with the end in mind.

By which he refers to thinking about your eulogy. When you die, what do you want your friends, your children, and your loved ones to say about you. That will tell you the direction you need to travel in.

My own example is, I want my kids and my colleagues to say that I helped to inspire them and never to rest on their laurels. This is because that is what I think is important. I think there are two reasons we are here in life, one is to serve other people, the other is to procreate. I have found both to be really rewarding.

So, yes, I would love people to say I was successful and that I’ve written some good things and built some great businesses, but actually, I want them to say that I inspire them to carry on learning every day. If I achieve that, then I know that I’ve done is what I wanted to in life. The thing that is most important to me, is to feel that I have contributed to other people.

This approach is like thinking about your life strategy. It is powerful to visualize, in whichever way you prefer whether than be written down, drawn, or imagined, what your future looks like.

Most business leaders will have a personal vision, followed by a company vision too. However, you don’t just have to be a business owner to have a vision for your company. Everyone has their own part to play within a business and you might visualize a promotion or an opportunity for yourself within the company.

Self-Reflection

Personal goals should set you on a path for what you want to achieve. This should start with a few minutes of self-reflection on where you are right now. How is your current position setting you up for where you want to be? These reflections can be to do with any part of your personal life e.g., your relationships, your work, your salary, your health, and hobbies etc. Having this time to judge yourself in your current situation then sets you in good stead to ask yourself, how do I improve?

Where do I want to be in 6 months/12 months’ time? You can now begin to set your goals.

Business reflection

When it comes to the company you have to reflect on slightly different aspects for example, does the company have clear missions/visions/values? You can then reflect on your industry position, are you a market leader? Do you provide great value? Are focused on customer service? What is your reputation? Think about how satisfied you are with those right now.

Next, focus on the people. How effective is your leadership team or your senior key players in the business? Does your organisation value the people within it?

You can’t hide from your finances, (you can try but you might get into more trouble than it’s worth!), so face them head-on. Are your finances meeting yours and other expectations? Are they contributing enough to the business and driving the business forward? Are they worrisome?

All of these factors contribute to the wider picture. They provide you with an idea of where you want to be next.

Planning

I don’t mind letting you in on a secret… The leadership team and I have been working on a 3-year plan since October 2020 for JudgeService. Some people might say “well what’s the point of a 3-year plan when you don’t know what is going to be happening in the next 3 weeks”. My counterargument is that I think it is even more important to have a long-term plan when you know the short-term might be a bit bumpy.

The bumps in the road shouldn’t take your eyes off the prize. Having a long-term plan is also reassuring for other colleagues so that they have faith that you know where you are heading in the long run.

During our process and even before we had finished the plan, we made key decisions on where to invest our time and money. That had been a brilliant “pre-product” of our planning process. It has also highlighted opportunities for where we can see the progression for team members careers within the company. Without planning, that might not have been as clear.

We start with the end in mind, then focus on our personal vision, then your company vision. Finding the gaps in vision allows you to take advantage of the planning process and allows you to move forward.

 “Without dreams and goals there is no living only merely existing and that’s not why we’re here” – Mark Twain

Setting goals

When it becomes to setting goals, I won’t be the first person who has mention SMART objective/goals. But I do believe they are worthwhile.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Here’s a link to more about SMART goals which I think sums them up brilliantly. Making sure your goals meet these criteria is the perfect way to ensure that they are going to help you fulfil your life strategy.

Tasks and “frogs”

A book that stands out to me which has improved my outlook on goals and strategy is Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy. (For other self-help book recommendations click here)

Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

A frog is a task which isn’t necessarily the hardest or most difficult task, but one which holds the most value. A frog task will help you get one step closer to achieving your goal.

For example, a Sale Executive’s frog wouldn’t be “to get through my emails today”, because even though it may be a long and arduous task it doesn’t hold much value. Their actual frog should be “I will get this order form signed today” because this task holds more value than reading emails and gets them one step closer towards a target or goal.

Sharing frogs and goals is something which I encourage with my team on a weekly basis. This means that people feel like they are being held accountable and gives the opportunity for others to support them and cheer them on. Saying your frog or goal out loud also signifies it’s importance.

Conclusion

One of the beauties of goals is achieving them feels rewarding. Inevitably, as long as you pick the right goals, they will keep you on track towards your personal vision and life strategy. So, we must begin with the end in mind.

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