I’ll admit it – I struggle with New Year’s resolutions. In fact, the only one I made this year was to remember to check my mailbox more often, so I don’t receive another lecture from the mailman.

The problem I have with resolutions is their lack of specificity. This is why my focus goes to setting personal and professional goals, since the mindset and approach to achieving a goal differs from that of a resolution. A resolution is a statement of what you want to change. For example, saving money. A goal is a statement of what you want to achieve; the steps you need to take to achieve it; and when you want to achieve it by. For example, saving 10 percent of each paycheck for the next six months, so you can take a family vacation in August.

Goals take longer to frame because they involve planning. But, this preparation provides you with a clear direction to follow to reach your desired outcome. By rephrasing your New Year’s resolutions to goals, you make them stronger and more likely to be achieved.

Setting goals for your business can be a challenging process also. I’ve found that the key to setting effective goals begins with asking yourself the ultimate goal setting question – why? Why should this goal be a priority for my company? This leads to the other four W’s. Who do I need on my team to achieve this goal? What plans and resources do I need to achieve this goal. When is the target completion date? Where will the company be when the goal is achieved?

Once you become intentional about creating goals for your company, become intentional about sharing them with your team. Clear communication will align your team and establish well-defined growth expectations. And, when your organization achieves a goal, take time to acknowledge it! Knowing that wins are recognized – not overlooked or marginalized – will bring renewed motivation to your team.

I challenge you to think about the resolution you established in January. How can you rephrase that resolution to make it a goal and then achieve it?

Stacy McCall
President and CEO

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