Mike Abrashoff, former U.S. Navy Captain
Originally published: 09.01.07 by Terry Tanker
While growing up, I was always involved in sports. At each level, the planning and goal setting became better and more focused — even though often it was more difficult. As a result, we had more wins and I met personal goals with better regularity. That was fun. You planned, practiced, played, kept score, and either won or lost. The following Monday, you reviewed good plays and corrected mistakes.
Without a game plan and specific goals, it's impossible to see where you've been or where you're heading. In this month's article, "Is your company ready for a CFO?", Theo Etzel, president of Conditioned Air in Naples, Fla., has written an article about knowing when it's time to hire a chief financial officer and states: "Business is a game that is scored by profit and loss statements and balance sheets." And in, "How to write a business plan", Guy Kawasaki interviews Tim Berry, president of Palo Alto Software, the principal creator of Business Plan Pro software. They discuss the importance of a business plan for company owners.
With those two articles in mind, I've listed eight goal-setting strategies that ultimately should be reflected in your business plan.
Be specific: Set
Measure: If you can't measure it, it's not a goal. Measure with dates, times, or amounts. When you do this, you will know how and why you have succeeded, and this will give you the direction and motivation to keep moving the ball forward.
Be realistic: It's important to set goals that you can achieve. Appreciate the obstacles you must overcome and skills you'll need to achieve a particular level of performance.
Make them relevant: Don't write goals for your banker, lawyer, or advisers. These are for you and your the business. They are in place to help you succeed.
Prioritize: Some goals are simply more important than others, and some need to be realized before you can move forward with others.
Work on them in the right order.
Write them down: This helps you to be specific, helps you to measure, and helps you to prioritize your goals.
Adapt: Teams make changes at half time; they adapt. If things aren't working, it's OK to change the approach. This is called flexibility.
Acknowledge success: Hey, it's OK to celebrate the singles and the home runs. That's what this whole process is about.
Plans and goals aren't just for the beginning of the year. They are year-round documents that will help you manage your company, employees, and yourself.
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Terry has over 23 years of experience in the advertising and publishing industries. He began his career with a business-to-business advertising agency. Prior to forming Hutchinson Tanker Ltd. and HVACR Business in January 2006, he spent 20 years with large national publishing and media firm where he was the publisher of several titles in the mechanical systems marketplace.
In addition to his experience in advertising and publishing, Terry has worked closely with numerous industry-related associations over the years including AHRI, AMCA, and ABMA. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the American Boiler Manufactures Association (ABMA) and as chairman, for both the Associates Committee and the Marketing Communications Committee of ABMA.