Customer Experience News & Trends

5 steps to better goal setting

“The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen,” according to Lee Iacocca, former chairman of Chrysler.

Writing your goals down provides you with a point of reference for the future, gives your subconscious mind a project to work on, and increases the odds that you’ll reach your goals.

Accentuate the positive

Goals that are stated as a positive step in the direction of something you want are more effective than those that focus on what you want to avoid or remove.

“I want to open X new accounts by September 1” is stronger and more positive than setting a goal to stop customer defections by a certain percentage. By focusing on the constructive aspect of the goal, you provide your subconscious mind with a positive pathway.

Go for goals that stretch

There’s an old proverb that says you don’t teach a six-foot man to swim by putting him in water 10-feet deep, because he’ll just drown. But if you put the same man in seven feet of water, he’ll become a better swimmer.

Goals that are achievable but just a little bit bigger than those we achieved previously stretch us to go beyond our comfort zone.

Make your goals specific

What you can measure, you can manage. When setting goals, it’s important to identify both a clearly defined outcome and a specific timeline so you know not only when you’ve achieved the goal but also how you’re doing along the way.

Some salespeople resist specific goals because they fear being stuck with what they created. As you progress towards a particular goal, the circumstances surrounding it may change. Making appropriate adjustments can be a critical factor in its successful accomplishment.

Questions to ask

Take a few minutes to discover how strong your goal-setting muscles are by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Do you set goals for yourself? How often? What long-term and short-term goals do you have right now?
  2. Do you usually try to create goals that you know will be fairly easy to achieve? Or do you also go for goals that stretch you?
  3. What, in your opinion, is the difference between having a good idea and creating a goal? Which do you do more of?
  4. Have you ever set a goal that was so big it was frightening? What happened? How did it feel? What did you learn from the experience?
  5. How do you feel if you don’t accomplish all of your goals? Have you ever failed at reaching a goal but have been able to learn something from the failure and turn it into a success?

Adapted from the book “Watercooler Wisdom,” by Keith Bailey & Karen Leland, management consultants who’ve worked with clients including Arco, Avis Rental Car, Johnson & Johnson, Sprint and Xerox.

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