Is Your Strategy Working?

At times, I have conversations with business owners, managers, friends and family about goals. The ones they are meeting and ones they are not. I tend to be a positive person, so I make sure they are lauded for their achievements.

However, I find that it’s often those elusive goals that occupy their thoughts. So I try to help them.

I ask questions like: What would it look like if you were successful in your strategy? How would your business change? How would your life change? The answers I get are a study in contrasts – from “I don’t know” to “I would be in heaven.”

What I don’t usually hear is – “I’m on track.”

I suspect this because they don’t measure their progress. But how do you know if you will ever reach your goal, if you don’t know it when you get there?

Measurement can be boring and seem to be distant to the bustle of your day, but not measuring is a little like traveling without a map or a GPS in a foreign land – you will get lost and your chances of getting there are reduced to a game of chance. While some of us may like that game of risk, most of us don’t. And goals are, usually, places to which you have never been, otherwise they would reality and not goals.

So how can you improve your chances of meeting your elusive goals?

How Can I Meet My Goals?

The great Stephen Covey wrote the seminal management book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” The habit I always use is, “start with the end in mind.”

This is like painting a target on your goal – you know exactly where you need to be.

Business and life are not that simple as we all know.  There are many dimensions to a goal. To define these, it’s best to think like a journalist: what are the Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How? of that goal.

Some example questions would be:

  • Who will be with you when you get there – just you, your employees, your family?
  • What is it you are striving for? More money is usually a proxy for something else, such as a bigger house, nicer car, more security.
  • Why do you have that goal? What is it that you actually need that is the root cause of your desire to reach that goal?
  • When – this is the usually, I find, the biggest obstacle. Most people, including myself, often underestimate the time it will take to get to their personal promise land. Every day is a set of commitments that must be met for you to keep what you have. What are your going to give up to make time for reaching your goal?
  • Where will you be when this goal is achieved? At another company, retired, in another line of business, in another country or state?
  • How will you pull this off? You will need help. You may need to acquire some new knowledge or skill. You may need to be with different people or do things that you are uncomfortable with.

Hopefully you have not stopped reading this article and been reduced to a puddle of tears.

It is difficult to reach a goal, and if you feel stressed, you may have too much on your plate already, and just need a vacation.

If you want to go back to school or take time to learn new things, it will cost money. And you will be earning less money because you have replaced your time from earning to learning (do you like that rhyme? I should trademark that!).

If you want to travel, you will need a travel fund. If you want to be in a new line of business or a new job, you need to make investments. Do you have the money or access to it? Is any deductible? Will it all be worth it?

Well, I can help with this part of your goal. Think of me as the “plumber for your dreams.” You don’t see plumbing every day. But you know you need it.

So give me a call to chat. I would love to hear about your dreams. Everyone needs to be listened to. And who knows, maybe your dreams will change once you flesh out what the sacrifice is.

But that can lead to new goals.

SHAMROCK vCFO Services in Naperville, IL specializes in helping small and medium size businesses with strategy, taxes, accounting, and financial performance management. Steve Shamrock left big companies to help smaller ones energize the economy.