Strategic Essentials

Goal-Setting – Still the Overlooked Secret to Success

Often it’s the basics that determine the difference between thriving in your life and business or merely surviving in business. Goal-setting is one of those bottom-line, essential basics.

Mark McCormick in his book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School tells of a Harvard study conducted between 1979 and 1989.  Researchers found that the 3 percent of 1979 MBA graduates who had created clear, written goals were earning, in 1989, on average, 10 times more than 97 percent of their graduating class. They also found that the 13 percent of the Class of ’79 MBA graduates who had set goals, even though they were not in writing, were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent of students who had expressed no goals at all.

Goals and the clarity of goals made a lifetime of difference for these Harvard MBA graduates.

Goal-Setting Process

In my consulting practice and workshops, I often include a 9-step goal-setting process. I’ve found that one of the most overlooked steps in the process – the one so many of us dearly want to skip over – is one of the most intuitive.

That skipped step: identifying obstacles and challenges that are likely to appear along the way and thinking through solutions.

These obstacles are usually quite easy to identify. Begin with the top two: you and everyone else.

Consider the obstacles you put in your own path: procrastination? Chaotic time management?  Inability to delegate? Then consider the obstacles others contribute: Interruptions? Lack of support? Lack of training?

Once you’ve identified your obstacles, then set about finding workable solutions. I encourage you to hold to your goals. Resist the urge to reduce your goals; instead, improve your solutions. And remember, well-planned and supported goals – the ones most likely to succeed – include lifestyle and family goals as well as business ones.

Take the time to set goals for your company and your life. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll succeed.