If you know me, or have read many of my blog entries, you will know that I am a Stephen Covey fan, in particular his book and theories around the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Covey’s Habit #2 is “Start with the end in mind” … which is excellent advice. What he is really saying is to understand what your ultimate goal is, before you set out on your journey, or before you start to execute on a plan.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Tony Robbins
It seems so obvious, but I can tell you that “more often than not” people just “do stuff” rather than having a plan first and then executing against that plan.
One of the obvious benefits of setting goals is that it helps you to map out a strategy along with actionable tasks to help you reach that goal. One of the less obvious benefits of having that goal is that it helps you to stay focused all along the “route”. You are better able to focus on what really matters, rather than being distracted by the “sidebar events” that happen along your journey.
“In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” Unknown
In business it is easy to get distracted, there are always new opportunities that can take you off course, there are problems and issues that seem big … but if you can stay focused on that end goal, are not really big!
If you are a salesperson who is trying to grow a territory, you can chase every lead that you hear about… or you can have a plan. If you have a plan, it will consist of target accounts, target client relationships, revenue targets for each of those clients and timelines in which to achieve those revenues.
Your plan should include contingencies such that when (as inevitably happens) sales slip into the next quarter, or fall off altogether, then you have other clients in the funnel to pick up the slack.
If you don’t have a plan, then you become driven by your day and driven by circumstance, hence when a client moves their buying cycle it IS a big deal. You don’t have a contingency and all of a sudden your quota is at risk.
If you are on track to meet your target them people issues, client issues, other initiatives, other opportunities and any other distraction are merely that … a distraction. You keep focused on the goal, executing on the plan and the distractions do not get in your way.
So … your takeaway is to set Goals, and develop a plan to meet those goals. You will be amazed at how much that will set you free … from worry, from distraction and from wondering what you do next!
Covey had it right … “Begin with the end in mind”, but don’t forget to KEEP that end in mind, as you experience challenges along the way!
“Goals give you a compass in order to direct your path through life. Goals focus your thoughts and actions on areas that have precise purpose and meaning.” Catherine Pulsifer