Mini Goals

I was working with a client last week and one of the first questions I asked this executive was how it was she was going to be measured for success. She gave me answers I had heard before like Stock Price, specific targets on sales, and a few other internal metrics. She showed me the annual performance targets, which was one page long document and had about five bullet points with specific and measurable targets.

I asked her how she was going to achieve them, and she listed out several business strategies. I then asked her how she would know whether she was on track or not with those strategies. “The numbers at the end of the quarter don’t lie,” she replied. Having worked in a publicly-traded company and intimately aware of end-of-quarter chaos, I offered the same advice that was given to me that proved invaluable.

It occurred to me that she might greatly benefit from having bi-weekly goals during each quarter where the cumulative achievement of all the bi-weekly goals would be a successful quarter. This would be in sharp contrast to what most of us do, which is to wait until about two weeks before the end of the quarter and scramble with creative deals to make our numbers. I understand that this is becoming part of the tactic the clients/customers use, but it leaves a great deal to circumstance.

My client and I spent the next couple of hours breaking down each metric into four mini-goals, and then a process to track them. In addition, we came up with a plan to course-correct should any of the mini goals not be achieved. She was ecstatic about the now ten-page Goal Sheet she had and immediately asked her direct reports to do the same. I am sharing this story this week because it reminded me of how few of us have mini goals so well-defined. The power of mini goals is a higher degree of confidence, better tracking, better correction, mitigated risks, and higher probability of achieving the larger more explicit goals.

This week, review your annual goals and list some mini goals you can establish between now and the end of your fiscal year.  How can you track these mini goals? How can you course correct if one or more of them is off?  Do the exercise on a board or paper (not in your mind) and I promise you will be acutely aware of where you stand, and how you can best achieve your goals.

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