There are tons of books and articles on goal setting, visioning, reaching for the moon and landing among the stars. But how many of those how-to guides talk about what to do after you set your goal?
As we begin a New Year and thoughts turn toward New Year's resolutions and wiping the slate clean, I would suggest that once you set your goal, you let your employees know.
They say that "what gets measured gets done" and if you write a goal down it is more likely to become a reality, but still so many managers feel that letting their team know about the goal is just TMI.
Too much information.
"They just need to do as they're told," is the old school of thinking.
"If we tell them too much and they leave and go to the competition, they'll take our plans with them," those that are a little more paranoid or perhaps have been burned in the past might say.
Yet when we let our team know the big picture, they are more inclined to take ownership in the ultimate success and help you achieve your goals even faster.
When I worked for Pearle Vision I found that many of the franchise owners were reluctant to let their employees know their break- even number.
"They don't need to know my financial information," the franchisee would say.
That way of thinking came back to bite one owner who was consistently missing their break even number and money was tight. The employees, clueless to the financial strain, began demanding a raise. The owner stalled and tap danced and finally came to me for help.
"You need to be honest," I told her. "The truth is, giving your employees a raise right now might mean that no one has a job six months from now. Instead, take them on as agents for change and let them know the status. See what ideas they have to turn things around."
That was twelve years ago. The store made it through the tough times and with one exception, the staff is the same and the sales are growing.
In these difficult economic times, your goal may be to still be in business in December 2009. Take your employees on as "partners" for success:
- Communicate your goal
- Explain why you believe it is a worthy goal
- Outline your ideas for achieving the goal
- Indicate the timeline you envision
- Share the obstacles that may keep you from success
- Review the competition and whether they may be working toward the same goal
- Reminisce about goals your team has achieved in the past to reinforce your confidence that this new goal will also be successful
- And then invite them to be part of making the goal a reality!
Ask your employees for ideas you may have missed. Ask what role they see themselves taking on to make the goal a reality.
You aren't alone in any endeavor you take on for 2009. Whether the goal is to lose weight, learn a new sport, launch a new product line or keep your business afloat; there are people out there to help.
Don't stop there. Once you communicate your goal, make sure you have regular updates. Just like the oversized United Way thermometer that measures funds raised, have a vehicle for measuring your journey to achieving your goal.
Set Mile Markers of Success and celebrate. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Don't wait for the Grand Finale to celebrate, set little benchmarks and enjoy the success along the way.
A goal achieved collectively is so much more enjoyable. Make sure you single out employees who go above and beyond!
If you have a goal, but keep it to yourself, who will be there to hold you accountable?
As we cross into another New Year, set your goals and then share the excitement with your staff.
Are you a home-based entrepreneur without a staff? Here are a few articles on setting and achieving your goals that you might find helpful:
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About the Author: Deborah Chaddock Brown opened her freelance writing business AllWrite Ink in 2004 after almost 17 years with the International retail optical corporation, Pearle Vision. Deborah's background is in franchising, operations, marketing and communication, however, her passion is helping businesses connect with their target audience using the Internet. Deborah blogs at Websites People Read.
Deborah is a member of the Small Business Trends Expert Network.