Consider this situation:
Your boss issues you a challenge and offers you a bonus of $1,000 if you can beat him/her in a footrace across the parking lot – about 100 meters. Most of us would take this up in a heartbeat. It looks achievable, even if your boss is a runner – it is certainly worth running as fast as you can in hopes of winning. Now let’s look at it a different way – your boss offers you a $1,000 bonus if you can run that distance in 9 seconds or less………
You would not even bother to change clothes or warm up, knowing that the bonus is impossible to earn. What is the point of trying for a goal that you know is physically impossible for you to achieve? Likewise, setting goals based on ego or hope is an impediment to your staff, and therefore your business success. Do you know what you can and should expect from each revenue source, and the metrics that drive these revenues? How are you coming up with these numbers? Are you quantifying each important category to ensure that you have the accurate information to project performance?
Another common mistake is setting goals that are too vague or abstract. Simply stating that “we need to increase our EFT draft”, or “do better on retention” does not make it happen. Setting the bar requires systems and procedures in place that measure success in these and the myriad of other categories that determine our overall business performance. If the bar is set too high, no one will believe they are achievable. If set so low as to be able to “step over it”, you will not only diminish your performance and waste payroll (bonuses on poor performance, etc.), but you end up spoiling your staff and creating a culture of mediocrity.
As we approach the fourth quarter, it is time once again to review our performance year to date, set a plan for the coming three months based on where we are short for 2016, and establish a budget and plan for the year 2017. Understanding how each and every department relates to one another and what your business is capable of achieving is the key to successful goal setting. Without this information, setting goals can actually diminish performance.
We have 3 months left to work toward the success of our year. Take a long, hard look at all the metrics that govern your success. If you are unsure what they are or how you are performing, get help. Only then will you be able to objectively gauge your final quarter and set up a successful plan for 2017.