3 Keys to Making Your Goals and Plans Come True This Year

How often do you create goals and plans that never come to fruition? If you’re like most owners, entrepreneurs and service professionals the answer is … “More often that I care to admit.” So what makes you think this year will be different?

By now, you’ve already announced to your people a set of goals for this year. Maybe you even did this at a big all company event. And maybe you’ve even had your plan for this year printed on big sheets of paper and laminated them. But what comes next?

If you’re like most small business leaders, the answer is … “The next project!” Exactly! And that’s the problem. The problem is that most of us are guilty of announcing goals/plans/initiatives/change efforts/projects and then, as soon as we announce them, moving on to the next project.

What’s the problem with that? Answer: Everything! Why? Because people and systems don’t change that fast. If you want real change to occur, it takes a consistent focused effort over a long period of time in order to make that change become a part of your culture.

For example, let’s say one of your goals for this year is to increase your closing percentage from 10% to 30%. Sounds ambitious. If you have the same number of prospects in your funnel as last year, that one change could  triple your business. So what do most owners do? Exactly. They announce the goal. Then they bring in a sales trainer for a two-day sales training workshop. And then, they move on to the next item on their to do list.

But what do you think the probability is that at the end of the year, your conversion rate will triple from 10% to 30%? Very little. Why? Because there was no discipline attached to the goal. Coming up with a goal or an idea or a plan and announcing it is the easy part. It’s the fun part. But creating an idea and announcing it does not make an idea come true. Discipline does.

So, if you’d like to make your goals/plans/dreams/initiatives/change efforts/projects come true this year, here are three ideas to help you make that happen.

1. Think Months, Quarters and Years—not days and weeks.

Anything significant (and you should only be involved in significant work) can’t be completed in a day. Nor can it just be announced. Anything significant needs to be focused on by you, as the head of your business, for a lengthy period of time. So instead of just announcing a change, you need to think about riding it for months.

For example, let’s say you announce a goal this year of systemizing your business (good for you). But instead of just announcing it, what if this year you were to talk about it at every weekly staff meeting? What if you were to build it into each staff member’s goals for this quarter? What if you were to discuss systems each month at your all staff meeting? What if you personally inspected (on occasion) your top staff member’s systems? And what if you did this every month for the next six months? Do you think your people would get it? Absolutely!

Let’s be honest, most of our goals and plans don’t come to fruition because we don’t institute the kind of focus and discipline necessary to turn them into reality. Nor do our people take them as seriously as they should. But when we stay on message for months at a time—everyone gets what matters!

So, how are you doing at staying on message for months at a time?

Note: I’m always amazed at business leaders who will pay someone like me to come in for a couple of hours to train their staff on something—and then they don’t ride their staff about that issue for the next few months. This makes no sense to me. No staff team changes in a few hours. So if you want to get the most out of your training dollars, this same principle holds!

2. Think Modeling!

As every parent knows, kids do what they see more than what they’re told. So, if you want to see your plans and goals come true, then you need to make sure you’re modeling the change first. If your goal is to engage more with clients, then you need to be the pacesetter. Every meeting you need to share something you learned from a client (i.e. modeling the behavior). And then you need to model that you’re changing behavior or systems or content based on client/customer feedback.

Why? Because people do what people see. Back in my old pastoral ministry days, we used to say, “If you want your people to bleed, then you need to hemorrhage.” In other words, if you want your people to do something, you have to do model doing it more than what you expect to see in them.

For example, if you want your top team to talk with three clients/customers per week, then maybe you should shoot for five each week. Why? Because if you want your people to bleed, you need to hemorrhage. If you want to see change occur in your business, then, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

So how are you doing at modeling what you want?

3. Cast Vision For It

A corollary to the statement above is, “People do what people see.” If people can’t “see” what the change looks like, then they can’t create it. And, despite what we may like to think, most people leak vision within minutes of us sharing it—which is why I keep saying to leaders, “You can never cast vision too much.”

Week after week, in emails, meetings, one-on-one conversations, etc. you need to keep casting vision for the change you want to see. For example, if you want your people to create systems, then you need to consistently share examples with them of people who have created systems—and how those systems are making it easier on the people who created them. Cast vision for how it frees up time. Cast vision for how it’s creating better client relationships. Cast vision for how it’s making training more effective. Cast vision for how much easier their work will be when they actually create the systems they need to create, etc.

Why? Because the more you cast vision and you show them how they’re becoming part of something better, the more they’ll actually complete the goals you’ve set. Take away vision, and they’ll revert to what they’ve always done.

So, how are you doing at casting vision for the change or goals you’ve set?

If you want to ensure that the goals and plans that you laid out for this year become a reality, then you’ll definitely want to start using these three keys week in and week out. Stay on message for months, model the behavior you want, and continually cast vision for it. There are other things you can do, but these three are a great place to start.

So, what will you do differently this coming month to make sure that the goals you’ve set become a reality long before 12/31?

To your accelerated success!

P.S. If you have some other ideas about how to ensure that your goals come true this year, make sure you share them in the comments section below (or click HERE if you’re reading this by RSS or email)