Executive Leadership Coaching

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Ask Spinnaker: How Can I Set Better Business Goals?

Jan 25, 2019

Written by: Shawn Sweeney

Got questions about trends, insights, and challenges related to Spinnaker’s areas of expertise? In this regular blog, we’ll tap into our Spinnaker team of experts and do what we do best: Roll up our sleeves to find you the answers you need. In this installment of our “Ask Spinnaker” blog, we’re tackling a question that’s a challenge for all of us right now:

Question: How can I set better business goals?

Chris Landrum, Spinnaker Principal:

If “better business goals” means more relevant, more achievable, more effective business goals, I can help! At the start of Q1, many businesses are defining and finalizing their goals for the coming year, so this is a timely topic.

Let’s assume you’ve already nailed the basics and you’re ready to take it to the next level. The secret sauce to setting better business goals has 3 key ingredients:

Prepare for Change.

We all know change is inevitable, so take the time to think about it. You don’t need a crystal ball, but it’s worth investing in developing a list of “What Ifs,” as well as strategies for dealing with them, so your business goals won’t be at risk. Ask first: What changes are on the horizon that may impact my business goals? For example, are developing trends coming into focus, or are rumors brewing in your industry? Second, ask: What changes “could” happen and impact my business goals? Your “What If” could be organizational, or it could be related to technology, politics, trends, budgets, workforce, legislation, the list goes on. No one can predict the future, but if you prepare for change when setting your business goals, you won't panic when change happens — and you’ll be ready to protect and adapt your goals.

Assess Your Resources.

Resources are mission-critical. Do you have what you need to achieve your business goals? If not, can you get what you need — and in time to make a difference? When outlining the strategic actions to deliver on your business goals, consider everything that will be required to actually make them happen. Budget. Staffing. Training. Operations. IT. And more! Compare your available resources to your wish list, and determine what’s realistic. If you discover you need to reset your business goals accordingly, you’ll have a much smarter approach that’s also more likely to be successful. Or, you may find you need to shift your resources, and investment in those resources, to better align with your goals in order to achieve the results you’re projecting. What if everything looks in order? Then by all means proceed — you’re ready to rock and roll!

Focus!

It’s so tempting to develop a mile-long list of business goals — there’s so much opportunity! But the truth is, if you’re chasing too many goals, you’ll be spread too thin to do much good on any of them. Trim your list so you can focus on the business goals that are most impactful. Then, go forth and make an impact! Don’t worry, you don’t have to say goodbye to the goals that don’t make the priority list. Tuck those away to address once you achieve the business goals you’ve committed to first—and only once you’ve achieved the other goals. There’s a great story about Warren Buffet recommending the “do less to do more” approach to goal setting to his personal pilot. You can read it here.

Want to read more insights about setting business goals? Check out one of my previous blogs on the strategic planning process.

And now a question for everyone: What else are you doing to set better business goals in the year ahead?

We want to hear from you! Got questions about trends in your industry? Want to know more about best practices in a specific area? Need advice about a challenge you’re trying to solve? Send your questions to info@SpinnakerConsultingGroup.com, or post a question for Ask Spinnaker to our LinkedIn page by tagging us at @Spinnaker Consulting Group LLC. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves to find you the answers!