"In my experience as a senior executive in the competitive and fast-paced sporting goods industry, I have seen my share of good leaders.

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Get On Track to Achieve Your Goals in 4 Easy Steps

goal setting

Ask anyone if they have goals and they are sure to say yes. It is human nature to look ahead, to imagine the future, and to strive for progress. But in order to be successful, goals need to be more than vague daydreams at the back of your mind. Follow this four-step goal-setting process to get both your business and personal goals on track.

1. Share Your Vision In Writing

Whether your goal is to expand your business internationally, or simply to take up an old hobby, writing it down is crucial. Anyone can imagine goals, but the act of physically writing (or typing) them acts as a catalyst. Putting your thoughts into words forces you to organize your ideas and to choose descriptive language that specifies the goal. A written goal also innately demands to be shared and inspires more commitment. Once your goals are on paper, share your vision with others. Sharing your goals holds you accountable for their success or failure and helps you get on track to achieve your goals. 

Consider the example of a gentleman who wished to repair his old accordion and start playing it again. It may seem like a humble aspiration, but writing it down and sharing it with others inspired him to follow through with an objective he otherwise would have neglected.

2. Communicate With Your Team

Once you have a refined written goal, it is time to communicate your objectives with your team and ask for their input. Clear communication is critically important for any organization. The leadership team must understand the company’s long-term goals in order to work towards them. In the same vein, leaders need to be aware of the ever-evolving modes of instant communication and judiciously plan what to communicate, which platforms to use to communicate, and how frequently this message should be communicated. For example, would a weekly email suit your communication needs? Or would a monthly one-on-one meeting be better? Similarly, your personal goals should be clearly communicated to your loved ones. Your friends and family are the people who can support and encourage you, and also hold you accountable if you waver. Our would-be accordion player shared his vision with a few close relatives, whose support compelled him to act.

3. Discuss The Long-Term

A properly thought-out goal involves envisioning the future and the potential long-term implications. You and your team should all be in agreement as to the direction the business is moving over the next year, and the next five to ten years. Understanding where and how that goal fits in with the future of the business can help you to prioritize.

For our accordion player, long-term meant planning ongoing dedicated practice time after repairing the instrument. If he did not pause to envision the long-term requirements of this goal, our musician might very well have repaired his accordion, played it once or twice, and relegated it once again to the garage.

4. Set Deadlines on a Timeline

No goal can be accomplished without a realistic but ambitious timeline with clear-cut deadlines. Only you can decide what indicators will mark your progress, and how much time you will need to meet each milestone. Use all available resources to help you stay on track, from traditional calendars to online reminders, and outline the consequences should you or your team miss a deadline.

For the accordion-player, his initial goal included two deadlines: one very short-term deadline to repair the instrument, and one slightly longer-term deadline to be able to play “Happy Birthday” in time for his grandson’s birthday.

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Julie Nimmons

Julie Nimmons

Julie uses her 30 years’ experience to help CEOs, executives and business owners in her Vistage Group find success in their businesses and personal lives. With positive leadership, a firm sense of prioritization and the commitment to lifelong learning, Julie’s creates a constructive workspace for Group members where honesty, innovation and cooperation can flourish.