With three months already gone in the year, now might be a good time to re-evaluate some of the goals you made on Jan 1st. Goals are filled with great intention but inevitably become forgotten about all too quickly. The reason for this is that with most goals we have limited control. These are generally referred to as “outcome goals”, which are in the future. In many instances they can take away from the true task at hand, which is the now and present. It’s akin to being focused on what you might shoot in a round of golf rather than on executing the next shot to the best of your ability. Then when we are disappointed at the end of a round, we convince ourselves that goal setting doesn’t work.
Similarly in business we often tend to overly focus on outcome goals whether it’s achieving a certain amount of clients, a level or revenue or ultimately a profitability target. These are good to have but more attention is required for the processes you need to execute upon in order to give yourself a chance; consequently we need process goals. In business, these fall under the following categories:
People – what are you doing relative to hiring the right people and ultimately optimizing their full potential? Examples of “People Process” goals might be:
- Hire 2 additional sales people
- Provide customer service training to all staff
Products – how can you optimize your products relative to utility and value to your customer? Examples of “Product Process” goals might be:
- Conduct independent customer service survey
- Enhance website to provide more product knowledge
Systems – what improvement opportunities exist relative to optimizing your internal operations? Examples of “System Process” goals might be:
- Identify and procure new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
- Conduct study to determine cycle time from order receipt to product / service delivery
The key to all of the above examples are that they are all based on whether done or not; there is no ambiguity. To measure, it begs the simple question, was it done or not? Whatever the outcome, it cannot take away from the fact that an effort was put into it in the first place. So as you think of goals, yes be mindful of the desired outcome but put maximum effort into the enabling processes.