A goal without a plan for achieving it is like a New Year’s Day declaration to lose weight. Unless you pick a realistic number of pounds to lose by a certain date, schedule a series of weigh-ins along the way, and prioritize changes to your diet and exercise regime, your pants size is going to stay the same. Learn how to turn 5 common goal setting “don’ts” into “dos” that benefit your bottom line and make growth a reality.

Effective goal setting is the key to entrepreneurial success. The good news is you don’t have to read an entire book or take an online course to get it right. Learn from the mistakes of others by simply avoiding these 5 pitfalls:


1. Lack of specificity

In other words, Keep It Specific, Stupid (the Anequim version of K.I.S.S.). Take the time to flush your goals out. What are the deliverables? What are the milestones? What does winning look like? Take a look at the two examples below. Which one has the better chance for success?

  • Create a learning platform
  • Create a training program with 8 videos and tests for onboarding a new employee


2. Lack of accountability

Meetings are great only if they are effective, so assign a note taker, and then distribute the notes to all who attended the meeting (and others in your company who need that information). Who is responsible for what? What are the timelines? What is the process for reporting and correcting issues that pop up?


3. Lack of completion

Take the time to set meaningful goals each quarter, then DON’T CHANGE THEM MID-QUARTER. Your team needs clear direction. If you change it every few weeks, they’ll simply stop trying to chase a moving target. There’s nothing worse than working your tail off on a task and then not being allowed to take it to a successful conclusion. Beware of Shiny Object Syndrome – it’s a motivation killer that will drive your team bonkers. The graveyard of half-executed ideas is a business expense you can’t afford.


4. Lack of prioritization

If you don’t take the time to prioritize your goals on the front end, the road ahead will be filled with potholes. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a quarter. What is urgent? What is essential? What can wait until the next quarter? For example, it’s awesome to come back from a conference with 10 new ideas. But before you head off in 10 different directions, think about which ideas relate to your vision. Which will generate the most income or help you grow the most?


5. Lack of realism

Set goals that are achievable, not aspirational, then lead by example. Show your team how to set and achieve goals so they can model your behavior. Make sure your project lead has what it takes to succeed. If a project turns out to be too difficult for the lead you’ve chosen, move it to someone else after 90 days. Being realistic about the hows (how long, how much time, how many resources) and your team’s abilities on the front end will increase the likelihood of goal/project completion.

Aspirational Goal:

  • I am going to be the king of sales.

Achievable Goal:

  • I am going to set a new record for closed deals in my region in 2022.

It’s the exact opposite of the “do as I say, not as I do” advice your mom gave you.


Want to continue the discussion? Check out this episode of Bootstrappers or this episode.



Gwenn’s Short Take

When you’re finished with a project, take the time to review what went well and what didn’t with your team. It’s an opportunity for you to provide professional coaching in a non-threatening environment…the ideal way for them to learn. This reflection time will allow your team to increase its business acumen and be better equipped to carry out your next project.


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