Often when people think about setting goals, all the focus is on the goal itself. Thinking about actual goals is, of course, an important part of the goal-setting process, but don’t make the mistake of letting the process stop there because you should just be getting started!
Brainstorming goals means sitting down and thinking, what could you do? What would you like to achieve? Where would you like to be 6 months from now, 12 months from now, and so on? But that is just the first stage.
I have identified six important steps that make up the complete goal-setting process, and I will speak to each of these steps below (we’re starting with #2 since #1 is setting goals). If you’re missing one or more of these steps in your process, you might want to think about adding them, and here’s why:
Every goal has to have a timeline: a start date and an end date. You (and people on your team) need to know when a particular project is going to come alive. This will help you will allocate resources efficiently, and it ensures that you don’t have a bunch of people working on the same thing at the same time, which will create a bottleneck or a competition for priorities.
The next thing is, it’s important to set (and keep track of) milestones around your goals, and create metrics to help you implement them. What can you measure to ensure that things are on target? When are you going to evaluate those metrics to make sure things are on track?
Developing Action Plans
Next, you want to put your action plan together. This is going to be your to-do list. Remember, each one of these steps is as important as the next in seeing your goals through — you don’t want to just be setting goals and forgetting the rest of the process — then you’re just wasting your time. You’re setting goals, setting timelines, creating milestones, and developing action plans. Linking all of these steps together helps you take a great vision and drill it down into something actionable.
Building a Goal Tracker
In this whole process, it’s very helpful to have a tool that helps you track your goals and success, i.e. a project management tool. This tool doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and it doesn’t have to cost you a bundle, but without something of this sort it’s very easy to lose track of where you are and what goal you’re working on. This is especially important if you’re a solopreneur. CAUTION! Don’t think you can keep it all in your head!!
If you’re working with other people a tool like this is also crucial, as it can really help you to stay organized and cohesive as a team.
If you have gone to all the trouble to set goals and put all of the steps above in place, you’re almost there! But it’s important to recognize that you now need one more thing: a regular rhythm to check in where you are at with your goals throughout the year, and that means monthly check-ins and team meetings (if you’re working with a team).
Many of you are probably having team meetings already, and maybe you’re talking about things at the to-do or the project level. But make sure you also take the time to review things at the goal level as well. When you do you’ll be well on track to seeing those goals through to completion.
Thinking about your goal-setting process in the context of the 6 steps outlined, determine whether there is a piece you are missing, and how implementing it could impact your goal-setting process.