The biggest ideas start on paper as a goal. Executives know that effective leadership goal setting is a prerequisite for running a good company. In this post, I want to give 3 ideas to set yourself up for success and set the right goals.
Who Do You Want to Be?
A mentor once asked me this question. He wasn’t asking me what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. He was asking me who I wanted to be in 12 months. The time period varies, but the question is a good starting point.
We tend to have a good sense of what we should be doing, what skills we need to learn, but we haven’t thought much about who we want to be.
- Do we want to be known as someone who gets things done?
- Do we want to be someone who can consistently spend time with our family?
- Do we want to be persuasive and charismatic?
Going through this process gets us thinking beyond our constraints. We don’t have to limit ourselves to what we have done in the past or what we know. We can imagine completely new levels of performance.
I was reading recently about the advancements in transmitting electricity without wires. It is now becoming possible to send electricity through microwave rays (or lasers) across short distances. The teams behind this technology are thinking of what could be done and not the historical limitations.
What Will You Say No To?
The second thing to consider is what you will say no to. Executives are drowning in decisions, challenges, and opportunities. If you wanted to, you could spend your entire day working. At this level, you need to become clear on what you will reject.
At work, this might include meetings, certain kinds of opportunities, coffee requests, or interviews. You might also reject things that aren’t aligned with who you want to be. At home, you could say no to certain friends, social events, foods, or activities.
Carol Tomé is the new UPS CEO, and she has done a fantastic job at saying no to the wrong things. She has forced the company to focus on the most profitable customers, the right services, and the best ways to deliver them.
Her approach might sound obvious, but it can be surprisingly hard to say no. Her approach has helped the company weather the pandemic and gets on a growth trajectory.
How Will Success Be Measured?
Finally, how will you measure success? I wanted to talk about measurement for two reasons. First, I think data offers options for determining opportunities and new ideas. Second, it is my expertise.
Think about what data you will be using to measure progress on your goals. You can explore reports, dashboards and working with specific people to generate the relevant data.
Consider also scheduling regular touchpoints to talk about the data and discuss opportunities. What new customer segments are appearing? What should You abandon products or services?
Innovation needs to be consciously thought about and worked on. Look at Britain and its efforts for funding innovation. They have plans to create their own DARPA and give money to innovative ideas. The results are yet to be seen, but they are moving in the right direction.
Data can play a role in helping you determine the proper goals. Knowing what is going in your business and the potential opportunities can be a major advantage. Remember that it’s much better to make significant progress on a handful of goals than plateau across many goals.