As a CEO, my job is to create a vision for my business and make it happen.
As a coach and mentor, I support my clients to create a vision for their businesses and careers, and then I hold them accountable to make their goals happen.
The ingredient that unites my role as a CEO and my work as a coach is effective goal setting.
Learning how to set effective goals is a core psychological skill of high performance. That’s why I devote a great deal of time and effort in my own life and business — and in my coaching relationships — to setting the right goals.
Before I take you behind the scenes of my goal setting process, here’s a critical distinction.
A goal is not a vision. They are related concepts, but they aren’t the same thing. The failure to recognize this critical difference can create a lot of frustration and wheel-spinning.
Your vision is an overarching image that captures the totality of what you want to achieve, create and contribute over a period of time. Your vision is your North Star.
Your goals are milestones on the journey; specific, short term navigation points that get you to your North Star.
When you have a vision but lack effective goals, you dream big and go nowhere.
When you have goals but not vision, you are efficient at achievement, but can easily lose sight of what you truly want. In other words, you become adept at moving in circles.
When you have both a compelling vision AND effective goals, LOOK OUT WORLD.
Here’s an inside look at my goal setting processes. Yes, processes. Plural. I use three distinct processes to set and achieve goals: The 100 Wants The Critical Quarterly and The Daily 3.
The 100 Wants
I like my life to feel expansive and possibility-filled. But because effective goal setting is highly focused in nature, it is in fact a constricted activity (which is why so many big, creative idea types chafe against it).
Enter The 100 Wants.
Each year in December, I take two days and write down 100 specific goals for my life and 100 specific goals for my business. 100 personal goals and 100 professional goals is a TON of goals, people….and that’s the point.
The activity forces me to be expansive AND detailed. Dreaming up 200 things I want is the ultimate workout for my abundance muscles.
This year my goals included:
• Take 6 weeks of vacation
• Sell out at least 2 live events
• Secure a partnership with a noted individual in the women’s leadership space
• Read one excellent book per month
• Impact the lives of 100K women
• Complete a road race
• Take my family on holiday in the Caribbean
…and about 193 others.
I write down my 100 Wants. I read them as often as possible. My preference is to read them right after I finish my morning meditation, sitting on my back deck, watching the sunrise with a cup of hot lemon water wafting steam into the cool air.
The simple act of writing the 100 Wants and reading them regularly will cause many of them to happen.
I repeat: The simple act of writing the 100 Wants and reading them regularly will cause many of them to happen. It’s a quasi-magical alignment of the sub-conscious awareness and conscious effort that quietly and powerfully moves me toward the things I said I want.
The Quarterly Critical
Tony Robbins has said that we’re all running two businesses (or careers, if you work in an organization). There’s the business you’re in, and the business you’re becoming.
When people get stuck, it’s because they are so highly focused on the business (or career!) they are in, that they haven’t sufficiently nurtured the business they are becoming.
Enter the Quarterly Critical.
The Quarterly Critical is a single, highly focused OUTCOME (not task!) that is reverse-engineered to help you advance. I create a new Quarterly Critical — you guessed it — once per quarter.
These are “over and above my day job” goals that powerfully advance myself and my company.
In Q3 of this year, my Quarterly Critical was a complete revamp of our signature leadership development program for women, The Leadership Lab. In achieving this Q3 goal, we not only took the program from great to world-class, but we built the foundation for a powerful growth strategy we’ll implement starting Q1 2018.
The Daily 3
We don’t live our lives in quarters, we live them day by day. My greatest successes have occurred when I’ve had the discipline to link my daily activities with my quarterly criticals.
Hence the Daily 3.
It’s a simple process — at the end of each day (not workday, day), I gently review what I accomplished over the last 14 hours or so, and then I write down 3 outcomes I want to accomplish the next day.
At least one of those outcomes must be related to my long term goal — it can’t simply be an urgent task or to do.
Three things. Not 10, not 5, 3 things.
Note: Meetings, coaching calls or other activities that occupy specific real estate in my calendar do not count against my Daily 3. I consider these to be important “Day Job” activities, and because they are booked, they require none of my personal willpower to execute, and they’ll happen no matter what.
I save my Daily 3 for the important (but often not urgent!) outcomes that will genuinely move my business forward.
Well, there you have it. An inside look at my goal setting process.