The first month of the year is a classic time for sales professionals to focus with intensity on identifying and fulfilling their most important personal and organizational goals. We’ve noticed, though, that the goal setting behavior of an organization’s leaders during the month of January tends to have the biggest bottom-line impact on the year as a whole.
Here are four essential goal setting habits of effective leaders. January is the perfect month to start making these your habits!
Habit #1: Focus on your top three strategic priorities. Every goal you identify for the organization or for a specific team should connect to one, two, or all three of your “big three” initiatives for the coming year. An example of a “big three initiative” would be a situation where high customer turnover is a major issue and you’re not getting as much repeat business as you should from your current clients because they’re experiencing quality problems. In that scenario, fixing your quality issue is probably going to be one of your top three strategic priorities. If a goal doesn’t support one of the big three priorities, don’t devote your resources to it.
Habit #2: Don’t focus exclusively on long-term goals. Goals that connect to critical year-end performance metrics are fine, but they shouldn’t be the only ones you and your team commit to. If you can attain 10 or twelve short-term goals that support one or more of your top three strategic priorities, that’s preferable to focusing on a single long-term goal that you won’t be able to complete until the end of the year. Short-term goals that are focused on specific work groups allow you to build momentum in different departments. Another great thing about short-term goals is that every time your people attain one of them, you have a reason to celebrate!
Habit #3: Make it clear to everyone exactly what success will look like. What is the roadmap for making your goal happen? Make sure it is quantifiable – and be certain you and your people have a clear plan. Detail every stop along the journey toward the fulfilment of the goal you’ve chosen. Make sure people know what they will be doing, when, with whom, and what the outcome is going to be. Provide them with a playbook, and ensure everyone is clear on his or her specific deliverable(s).
Habit #4: Connect the dots. Don’t focus simply on what the company wants. Figure out how the attainment of this goal impacts the various members of your team. Identify the personal dimension for each key player. For instance: In attaining a personal sales goal, it’s likely that each individual sales performer on your team has the potential to earn a bonus or commission. But don’t just figure out the dollar amounts that connect to the sales goal … identify what the person plans to do with the money, assuming he or she secures it. What’s most important to this person on a personal level? Is it a trip to France? The ability to put the kids through college without taking on student loans? A dream wedding for the salesperson’s youngest daughter? Once you connect the dots between the organization’s goal and the individual’s goal, virtually anything is possible.
Consider putting these four leadership habits into practice this month and executing them throughout the year!