My article on goal setting so you can Have The Year YOU Want is nominated this week as a Top 10 Sales Article from The Sales Corporation.  The timing is great because it is now the end of the 1st quarter and time to see how you are doing, make adjustments and take action to have a great 2nd quarter!

Below is the article with a few modifications for quarter end.  The next post will walk you through the Review, Renew, Revise or Recycle process of goal attainment.

5 Steps to Strengthen Goal Clarity

The end of March means we have one-quarter of 2009 to reflect on.  This is a perfect time to look at  your goals and the progress you have made.

To start thinking about goals, a quote by Diane Scharf Hunt…

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.”

Dreams are important so we know where we want to be and the deadlines are going to help us ensure we get to realize the dream!  We need to capture these dreams and deadlines into specific, written and measurable goals.  That is what goal clarity is…having specific, written and measurable outcomes that we are working toward. And we can make this easier by following a process to make it efficient and successful.

Following is a goal clarity strengthening process to implement right now…really, RIGHT now.  Take out a piece of paper and writing instrument and make 5 columns on the page for your own Goal Planner.

P.S.  If you already did this exercise at the beginning of the year, you’re not off the hook.  Take out the goals you have and revivew them.  Wednesday’s post will have more information on the 4 R process after you set your goals.

Now, back to writing those goals!

1. In the left column write at least 5 things you want to happen in the next 60 days. These are outcomes like “I have one new sales appointment each work day.” or “I am closing $___ in business each week.” These are now your goal statements.

A caution:  Review the outcomes for measurability and specificity to see whether you can identify whether it is accomplished or not.  A couple of examples of common goals I hear:

o    Goal:  “To have less stress.” What does less stress look like?  How will you know if you have achieved it or not?  How can you determine whether you have less stress or not?  The statement needs to be more specific.

o    Goal:  “More time with my family.”  Another great outcome desired – but not specific or measurable.  Be specific on what time with your family looks/feels like.  Does it mean a certain amount of time each night? Weekend?  Certain activities completed together?  “I will eat dinner with my family 3 times each week.” allows me to know whether I have achieved this or not.

2. Look at each statement and identify the actions you need to take to get there. Write 2-3 actions that will move you toward each outcome in the 2nd column.

3. Write a specific time/date when you will take that action in the 3rd column. Is it each day? Week? How often?  A date is another checkpoint on the road to success.

4. Next, identify your reward for completing those actions or the goal. Think through the BENEFIT of completing the action that leads you to the goal or outcome. Will you sleep better? Will there be self satisfaction? A treat like a special coffee or candy? Be prepared to “reward” yourself when you have completed the action/outcome. Write these in the 4th column.

5. And in the 5th column write the name of a stakeholder for this goal or outcome. A stakeholder is someone that will care about this outcome – it might be a manager, a spouse, a colleague, a friend. You may have different stakeholders for each goal.

Finished?  Congratulations!  Look at this paper – you have at least 5 goals and a plan of action for the next 60 days to get there!

What’s next? Taking action! The first action is to share each goal with your stakeholder for that goal.  Your stakeholders are beneficial as they may be able to:

1. Clarify the outcome with you to make sure it is specific enough for you to know whether you reach it or not.

2. Identify other actions that can get you there quicker or easier.

3. Help you in some way to achieve the goal.

4. Celebrate your progress and ultimate success!

5. Add accountability.

After your stakeholder is ready to stand by your side, it’s all up to you!  The 5 steps to goal clarity will allow you to have the year you want – regardless of changing market conditions.  It starts today with the action you take.

salesopedia-calendar-picYou don’t need to wait until the first of the year – today is a great day to start to ensure you get what you want out of the remaining three-quarters of this year.

What else have you found is helpful when setting goals?