July 16, 2017
I used to handle all the franchise training for a coffee chain. I encouraged new franchisees to tell their employees the inciting incident that made them set a goal to own their own business.
One guy got up and told us he was at a Yankees vs. Red Sox ballgame late one night. Roger Clemens would be pitching to break the record for 20 wins. But before that could happen, it began to pour, and the game was finally called due to rain.
The next morning, he slept in an hour figuring he would take a later train into the city. While he was getting dressed, he turned on the TV to discover the World Trade Center was on fire and the first Tower was going down.
He fought back tears and said, “If I had gotten home earlier, I wouldn’t have slept in. I would have been in a train under the WTC when the Tower went down. I decided right then and there to move to Florida and open my own business. It’s taken me longer than I thought, and I’m so glad to see you all here to support me.”
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room after that powerful story. A story based in truth that created a goal.
What is goal setting? It is the process of deciding what you want to accomplish and then devising a plan to achieve it.
It is kind of like a mission statement – you can always return to it when you’re about to take on risk or do something questionable. You can always refer to it to see if you’re on track.
The key to goal setting is not only understanding that you want to set a goal but why you want to do it.
The why is what helps you get leverage on yourself to change. Leverage is seeing the results if you don’t follow through.
A good goal often involves some kind of risk. You may not make it; it’s not a sure thing, and while that’s reality, you still go for it.
You’ll need outside help or education to help you get there. Build it and they will come is not a strategy to achieve a goal.
If you already knew everything you needed to know, you would have already done it.
James Collins and Jerry Porras landmark book Built to Last said to thrive you need a big hairy audacious goal or BHAG that changes the very nature of your business.
Sure, if you’re Google or Apple, this can be exciting. Those audacious goals are magnets for Millennial employees to non-profits and technology companies.
I had a friend who went to work for Apple and with Steve Jobs, worked on the famous Think Different marketing campaign. Pursuing a BHAG, their company achieved a remarkable turnaround, barely thinkable only a few years earlier.
But the fact is, most of us won’t set a goal like that and end up like an Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, or Oprah Winfrey, but that doesn’t make goal setting any less valuable.
To truly change your business, you have to break out of fear. The past is often what keeps you in a fearful state and paralyzed.
By concentrating on a goal in the future, you have to let go of the past.
Letting go of the past means you have to give something up in order to get to your new future.
And the future is one of the most powerful motivating forces there is.
How do you decide on a goal?
Always begin with the why before the what.
Why do you want to change?
Do you just want to hold onto your family business?
Do you want to open more locations?
Do you need to update your business because your customer base has shifted?
This usually takes a bit of quiet time with yourself, so don’t try to do this in five minutes; you need to know what’s going on in you.
Regrets can come up in the early part of brainstorming. You have to give up the hope that your past could have been any different, so don’t dwell on it.
Also remember to state your goal in the positive, I want or I will over I don't want.
Next, decide what’s your #1 highest priority is, a very specific goal. You can't set five goals and expect to achieve them; that splinters your focus.
That said, the truth is that most of us have low expectations, not really high goals, so push yourself here.
How will you know you achieved this goal? Can it be measured in some way?
Give yourself a deadline, that fixed point when you expect to be finished.
Next write your goal down so you make it real. Put a slip in your wallet, post it on your computer monitor, keep it front and center.
Once you have that one goal, you need to lay out a plan, then allocate time and resources to achieve it.
Be careful not to confuse tasks with goals. A task is something you do to achieve the goal, but not the goal.
A good goal means you need to bring people into your life to provide inspiration, education, and support.
Next, tell your management team as well as your good friends what you are intending to do. Let them know at the outset there is no guarantee and you’ll need them to help you through the highs and lows so you stay focused on your goal.
Finally, there’s no shame in pursuing a goal. Realize that as you get educated, look for inspiration, and work your plan that the original goal may change. That's what makes for good retail management.
That Florida franchisee did very well accomplishing goal after goal until he finally sold that business and went onto a whole new goal.
That’s OK for you too. If your goals change, just start from the top of this process to create a new goal that aligns with your new self.
Think of setting a goal like Luke’s journey in the movie Star Wars. Our hero has a goal – bring peace to the galaxy. Luke has to enlist the help of others.
He also has to get training on The Force and the lightsaber, tools he’ll need on his journey. He also needs others to help him when his confidence wanes and risk is high.
Think of the scene where Luke is just about to send the missile into the Death Star as all the other spaceships are breaking apart around him.
Luke fears for his own life. What is the message in his headset from one of the other pilots? “Stay on target.”
That’s really the point of goal setting – to create a target, to become educated on what it takes to succeed and go for it.
Goal setting isn’t only an occasional thing you have to do. It should be a way of life to keep your business alive.
Use this goal setting process to enjoy a new direction for yourself, your business,and your future.