Measurable goals for personal & professional success

By Heather Wentler – StartingBlock Entrepreneur in Residence

Every January you get a new beginning. A new opportunity to reset and try again. We see this through setting goals, resolutions, and/or intentions. I believe in setting intentions and manifestations. You could do this through your meditation practice by saying statements to enforce what you want to see happen or through accountability groups to have others hold you responsible.You could also write intentions in a letter to yourself, create a vision board and reflect back on them, or state them within a company-wide message (either written or vocally). Whatever method works best for you, the most important thing is that you do it.

When setting your goals, resolutions, and/or intentions there’s a great method to measure them: 

  1. Set a Theme 
    1. This could be monthly, quarterly, or annual
    2. Taking annual themes and breaking them down into smaller pieces (quarterly or monthly or within different departments) creates higher attainability and success
  2. What’s the “Goal” and/or the “Why”
    1. Goals & Resolutions: What are the benchmarks to achieving this?
    2. Intentions*: Why does it matter and how does it impact the area of growth?
      *Intentions are not goals, but support greater fulfillment internally and externally
  3. Check-in on how you’re doing 
    1. Create a recurring calendar event to the time interval you want to check in, then make the time for doing a formal check-in and progress update
    2. Be honest with yourself & others when you check in. Say “I haven’t worked on this” or “I need to adjust based on ‘XYZ’” rather than putting off the check-in or making up information to look like you’re doing better than you know you actually are
    3. The saying “It takes 21 days for a routine to become a habit” is true! Remember this as you plan your check-ins
  4. Enlist Others
    1. Even solo sports competitors have a support team behind them. Make sure you have people in your corner to rally, support, and challenge you as you move forward with your intentions and resolutions
  5. Reward Yourself
    1. If there’s one thing all of us don’t do enough, it’s celebrate our achievements and thank those who supported you along the way
    2. The other thing we tend to do too much is to be too harsh on ourselves. Sometimes we fail at hitting the mark, but there are always things we learned through the process that we’ll take with us going forward. Creating stretch goals helps with taking away some of the failure feeling

Resolutions and intentions are not just for your personal life. They could be considered goal setting within your venture, and you can take the same approach as outlined above for how to incorporate this practice within your venture. I love goal setting! I’m also a very Type A personality. On all of the personality tests I’ve taken, I always have “Execute” as a top trait. I thrive in creating a system for overcoming problems and working through the process until completion. It’s part of what makes me a great coach and business operations person. Naturally, goals, resolutions, and intentions are something I encourage and use for myself. One thing I constantly have to remind myself (or ask others to remind me of) is that goals and timelines can change for a variety of reasons, so I have to adjust and stop pushing something that isn’t best for what we’re trying to achieve. And, even when we arrive at an outcome, it may need adjusting and to be revisited from time to time – we can’t just check the box and think everything is taken care of forever.

How do you hold others accountable for their role within a venture?

No matter who is involved in your venture, people thrive when they know what their role is and how it plays to the bigger picture. This is where a strategic plan comes into play and a path for how to achieve the strategy. If you’ve read my posts in the past, you’ll notice I like to use analogies to help paint the mind’s-eye picture of the topic we’re discussing. This month we’ll use sports – Everyone plays a role within the venture’s team just like a football team works together on and off the field. 

Football teams don’t go onto the field each week without a strategy or game plan against each opponent. They spend weeks before the game reviewing how their opponents move on the field, defining what their plays look like, learning what signals the team is listening for, creating a plan to adjust, and outlining what each player can expect in their position to maximize the team’s winning odds. They’re using their team practices to go through the movements and signals so they know how to do their job. They also don’t rely on only the players who are on the field during the game. Everyone on the sidelines, in the booths, working the stadiums, referees, game announcers, etc. all have a role in the entire football game experience. Even though they all know their roles so well, we as spectators are able to see their mistakes so easily when the communication errors or plan failures happen right in front of our eyes.

So how do you hold others accountable for their role within a venture? There are lots of ways to hold others accountable, but (as is another general theme within all of my posts) communication is key! If you’re a venture that has levels of reporting, setting policies for how often and what is to be discussed at check-ins should be documented and known by all. If you’re at the stage in your venture when it’s only the founder(s) or the first time these processes are being created, involve others for feedback and clarity of understanding. When I first started using quarterly goal setting for Doyenne, I approached the first sessions as user testing. I sent the documentation to everyone, included myself as a tester, and asked for feedback along every step of the process from all levels of team members. 

Creating opportunities for your team members to make their goals their own will make them more manageable and achievable. This doesn’t mean letting them do whatever they want. Their goals should still continue to meet the goals laid out in the strategic plan or whatever has been communicated to them as the venture’s goals for the time period, but let them have input and play to their strengths as to how they’re going to address them. 

Let’s say you have a goal of 1,000 new customers monthly. Your sales and marketing team’s job is to figure out how this is going to be done. How can they play to each other’s strengths in order to make this a reality? Is someone better fitted to be a copywriter for email/newsletter vs social media content? How about researching the potential clients and identifying how best to get a meeting with them? Who are the ones in the actual meetings delivering the message and securing the client? If this is reflected in their goals, they’ll feel more confident going into them. 

Check-ins don’t have to be elaborate 45+ minute meetings. A quick stand-up meeting where each person gets 3-5 minutes to report on the following can help reinforce their goals and gives them support.

  • Status update – What’s changed since the last check-in?
  • What’s being done between now and the next check-in towards this goal? – High-level steps, not a task list or everyone involved
  • What blockers are in their way? Are they waiting for someone to respond to an ask or is there a process implementation that has to take effect before they can move forward?
  • Ask from others – Either direct asks from others in the meeting stating they’re going to reach out requesting support or a general “Can someone help me?”
    NOTE: This can hijack a meeting if not managed properly by whomever is leading the meeting, so set a timer or ask people to write out their points before the meeting to keep them on topic

All of these give great insight to managers/directors/co-founders as to if a follow-up needs to happen. If you’re not seeing enough progress, it’s important to reach out asking how you can help or hear about their experiences to be able to adjust and create a new plan.

As a founder or manager at a venture, you set the example of why your goals, resolutions, and intentions are important to the venture’s success. Whatever process you ask your team to do, you should do it too and have someone hold you accountable. A football team doesn’t typically lose because of one person on the team, but if the coach isn’t listening, adjusting, and relying on the full team then they’re not fulfilling their role nor are they doing their part in making sure the team wins.

Want to talk more about goals, resolutions, and/or intentions and how to put them into practice? Or to talk about anything else related to running and working for a startup venture? Schedule an Office Hour with me.

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