Most Business Owners I meet have a financial target for their business. What is often missing is the milestones needed across their business backed up by an action plan to get them there. Getting a clear distinction between goals and activity ensures focus (Business Brain Training or setting your RAS) is in the right places. When looking at the activities it is important to check the people implementing the activities have the skills and experience needed.
BE X DO = HAVE
BE: the skills and experience needed to implement the actions
DO: the actions broken down in to baby steps.
HAVE: This is the outcome, the goal. Not necessarily financial
Why set goals?
- It sets your RAS
- Your reticular activating system is walnut sized and is located at the back of your head.
- It acts as a filter to stop your brain being overwhelmed with the amount of data it has to process
- Your RAS has to compact the data and sort it, this ends up generalising and often distorting facts. Have you ever talked through memories with a friend and come out with very different takes on what happened? That is your RAS at work
Help your RAS by being very clear what you want your mind to focus on (Business Brain Training). The act of writing down your goals helps your RAS. I remember being told to record my revision notes for exams and play it back before I went to sleep – at the time I thought it was nonsense, now I understand that the purpose was to help my RAS and make the revision notes stick.
Now I go to bed and focus on a problem, writing it down in a notebook. In the morning ideas have popped in to my head – that is the RAS at work.
- Once you have a goal, share it with the team, friends and family. The goal may be a stretch goal, Verne Harnish calls these BHAGs, big hairy audacious goals.
- Once shared you can share ideas on how to get there and track progress
- Family and friends can check in and ask how you are getting on. Having a Business Coach is the ultimate check in!
- Enables progress tracking
- Once you have a goal you can track progress against it
- You will know if you are winning or losing
- How do I write Goals?
Write them in the SMART format: specific, measurable, achievable, results focussed, time-bound.
Not SMART: I want to make better use of my time
SMART: I will have 5 hours to work on my business per week by 1st May 2018
Specific – yes; 5 hours
Measurable – yes; I will know if I have achieved that
Achievable – yes, if I plan well, delegate and have self-discipline
Results – focussed time working on the business, implementing strategies
Time-bound – by 1st May
How do I Turn the Goals in to Actions?
It has been proven that the most effective action plans project forward 90 days. A great way to start is to look at your goals by quarter throughout the year. Then focus on the next 90 days, breaking down the actions needed.
Remember the old joke – how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It is the same with activities, it is much easier to tackle tasks that are an hour long than a day, by breaking it down and planning it in they are much more likely to be completed
I like to get the left and right brain working, whether it is a 3-year business plan, or a 90-day plan use a mixture of techniques. Your left brain likes logic, lists of items put in a sequence, your right brain is more creative preferring colour and shapes.
Combine the two and your plan will be much more effective.
I use large plotters and coloured sticky notes; flipchart paper can work well – set the time line across the long edge and split it to 4 quarters for the year. Down the short edge consider different areas of your business such as sales & marketing, operations/delivery, team.
Some of my clients find this a bit fluffy so they go straight to a template in excel and type it in, we still track progress by using RAG (Red, Amber, Green) ratings – highlighting in red actions that didn’t happen, Amber – actions that were started but not completed and putting in green those that were fully completed. There is nothing better than looking back at an action plan that is a sea of green.
Whichever template you use the important thing to remember is to get the Be x Do = Have
If you haven’t set your RAS yet there is no better time, make sure that your goals are not too easy and not unrealistic; the aim is to stretch your comfort zone not demotivate yourself and feel like a failure. Break down the goals in to scheduled activities with clear owners and make sure you meet regularly to review progress.
If you want some support and guidance I have a full 90-day Planning day workshop at Buxted Park in Uckfield on the 20th April coming up. The investment is £150+VAT p.p.
Have a successful week.