How to break free from tradition when setting goals

goal setting
Each time a new year begins it seems to trigger a wave of realisation for many business leaders. It sparks a need for people to both look back at what they achieved over the past year while also encouraging them to focus on their goals for the impending 12 months.

When you’re leading a medium sized business or establishing an empire as an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to step back for long enough to set some goals.

If you are personally driving your business on all cylinders, as an SME, here’s how to get the best out of your goals starting now.

  1. Know your business cycle

Many businesses are at their busiest at the start of the year. So the traditional approach of taking a step back at the start of the year won’t suit every business.

Your business cycle will offer a logical window for the best time to set your goals.  Find the most suitable time for yourself, your team and your customers to set goals.

Drawing up the goals and visions for your business is an activity based on passion, rather than process.  Think about your objectives in the context of upcoming opportunities, current market conditions or the changing circumstances of your business. This can bring breakthrough moments of setting goals in context.

  1. Focus on drive and dynamics

Leaders bring their own signature style and tempo to the business. It is time to switch on your own drive, vision and to build the aspirational goals for the business. Your goals need to be dynamic and driving, a source of motivation rather than something you have to find the energy to complete.

To do this, you need to be aware of the drive behind these goals. Leaders who really understand the purpose of their organisation and focus on why your business exists, often come up with the most meaningful goals.

To create a series of achievable goals that gain true satisfaction, it is worth your own drive, time and attention.

  1. Take your time

You can set a goal in thirty seconds. But is that objective one that’s been considered thoroughly? Does it show an understanding of where the environment is heading or what disruptions may take place over the next 12 months?

These are the types of questions that are easily overlooked if you treat goal setting as a mandatory process that you rush through. It’s important to be aware of both the challenges and opportunities that lie down the path that a goal may set you on.

This links back to the need to be aware of your purpose as well, as you may need to take the time go all the way back to questions of why you first started the business and what you were trying to achieve.

  1. Be prepared to reframe your goals

Your likelihood of being completely correct when setting goals may as well sit at zero per cent. You can never be fully sure what the future holds, so it’s important to be able to reframe your goals as the year goes on.

For example, I like to frame goals as being either aspirational, satisfactory or objectives you would be disappointed to not complete. This grading system means that as time passes, you don’t risk being demotivated by marking something that could be considered aspirational as a complete failure.

Knowing how to break free from tradition and find your purpose makes it much easier to stay motivated throughout the year.


By: TEC Chair, CEO mentor and coach AAllyn-Wasleyllyn Wasley