You've heard the phrase, "If you aim for nothing, you'll hit it every time." That was said by Zig Ziggler, and it certainly applied to business planning. Running a Startup is crazy. Not just the amount of work, but the fact that we all don't really know what we're doing 100% of the time. Entrepreneurs are famous for "building the plane while flying," and I haven't found a truer way to describe Startup life.
Since the path to success is often unclear. Many founders and teams resist going through the planning process each quarter. There is usually a big push around the new year as it is a time filled with excitement and energy. But once Q2 or Q3 planning rolls around, we tend to just keep going with what we are doing and fail to take the time to pause and reflect on the previous 90-days of work and effort.
The danger with this is coming to the end of the year and realizing that you actually didn't accomplish any of your big goals. You may even feel further away from your dreams and vision for your life and your business.
That is why I am so passionate about goal planning. It is the one practice that can make or break progress in any area of your life. And it doesn't have to be complicated.
It doesn't matter whether it's planning for the new year, mid-year review time, or quarterly planning. There are only a few, very simple steps to follow that you could knock out in an hour or two. And the trick is once your goal planning is complete, you feel a renewed sense of energy and focus having a plan that will take you one step closer to your BIG vision.
4-Step Lazy Goal Planning
Reconnect with your big vision: During the course of our regular lives, pressing forward with the dailies it is so easy to forget exactly what you are working towards. Shiny Object syndrome is real and we may come to the end of the year realizing that we've been working in the wrong direction! It's so easy to get thrown off course. For any goal planning session, it's really valuable to reconnect with your vision. That may look like taking the time to journal, on your own, to remember your big goals. Then reflect on the work you and your team are doing to confirm whether or not those tasks align with what you're trying to accomplish. From there, you must, must, must communicate your vision with your team. Our team has a much shorter-term vision of your company and it's your job as the founder to keep them focused and excited about what you are all building.
Review your historical results: Back to Mr. Ziggler. We need to set targets and review them. If you haven't created a scorecard for your company, put that as the TOP goal on your list right now. It's impossible to improve the performance of anything without understanding what results in you're getting now- today. Something beautiful happens when you review metrics. If targets aren't being hit, it is a wonderful segue to creative brainstorming. This process of reviewing what is working/not working and then brainstorming ways to improve is the only way to succeed in business. Success can be measured by the number of trials and errors you've been through on the journey to getting it right-- and knocking it out of the park.
Readjust or reaffirm your ideas: Now you've reviewed your metrics and the goals and tasks that have gotten you to where you are now. Hopefully, you can make some conclusions on what is working/not working and are filled with new ideas based on the discussion you've had with your team in the previous step. These ideas become the foundation for your goals moving forward. I like to brain dump everything with my team and them prioritize together-- taking in new ideas and perspectives from the team in the process. This helps to get your team aligned and energized by the goals (rather than just parceling out tasks to them).
Create and Assign S.M.A.R.T goals: Now you've decided on what goals to tackle in the next 90-days. It's time to write them in a concise way that clearly communicates what needs to get done and the expected results. A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and bound. Here is a quick guide to get you started. Be sure to add the tasks to your favorite project management tool so you can keep track of progress.
And there you have it! It doesn't need to be so difficult. You just need to set aside the time to get it done and follow these 4 steps. Once you get used to the process it can be done in just an hour if needed. Some people find it fun to create a whole "to do" around quarterly planning, and that can be fun. But if making it a big event prevents you from actually getting the work done, skip the bells and whistles for something much more "low key."
If you're still not convinced of how easy this process can be, I've created something special just for you.
A special masterclass walking you through the step-by-step process for lazy goal planning. One you can use with your team. It's the perfect way to implement the habit of quarterly planning with your team, nothing more is needed than to update this quick document every 90-days with your team.
Take a listen!👇🏻
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Victoria is a Marketing Mentor to early-stage founders. She has built compelling brands around the globe and has worked as a marketing director across several verticals. She is passionate about helping women think BIGGER about their businesses and giving them the tools to grow. She'd love to connect on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.