It’s January and in offices everywhere executives of all stripes are formulating this year’s goals. To guarantee that you accomplish your 2013 objectives make sure you aren’t making these very common mistakes:
• Being too general. Goals need to be very specific. For example, it’s not enough to want to “improve my communication skills”. Get behind that generalization and drill down to what it is you exactly want to accomplish. The communication goal instead becomes: “I want to stop nagging my reps about the quality of their pipeline and produce a team forecast that is accurate”.
• Unrealistic goals. Your goal needs to be achievable. If the company average deal size is $250k it’s likely unreasonable to make $500k per deal as your own sales goal.
• Lack of commitment. You want it, but not badly enough to follow through and do what it takes. Be honest with yourself. Hoping something will happen or be achieved is a far cry from making sure it happens. You’ll only make your goal a reality if it’s important enough that you dedicate yourself to success.
• Not identifying a timeline. Milestones and due dates ensure that goals are met and in a timely fashion. Aim high but make your expectations practical. Rome wasn’t built in a day so allow a sensible amount of time for getting the job done.
• Lack of or an unclear action plan. You may have a goal and a timeline all right but only a foggy clue – or no idea at all -- as to how to make it happen. “Plan your work and work your plan” we used to say in my first technology sales job. Identify the steps you need to take to get where you are going. Without a map who knows where you’ll end up! Certainly not where you intended to be.
Goal setting can be fun, exciting and invigorating. With commitment, proper planning and implementation you will succeed. As Van Morrison says, you make your own reality every day. Make your reality a new year dedicated to achieving goals and success!