Create a systematic, repeatable process to help employees reach even your most ambitious business goals.
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Setting good business goals is easy. Implementing a plan to get your employees working towards actually reaching those goals is a completely different story. It can be one of the most challenging issues entrepreneurs face when it comes to leading employees while working toward business objectives.
Many businesses set goals and then fail to map out a plan to reach them. Without a map, you and your team will be wondering if what you’re doing is actually helping you achieve your goals. Goal setting, combined with goal mapping, ensures your team will have a clear path to reach your company’s goals.
Goal setting is often the easiest part for entrepreneurs. Goal setting is a two-part process: creating the goals, and then breaking them down into smaller milestones.
The goal is your ultimate objective. It’s the end result of your hard work. Here’s an important piece of advice about creating solid business goals: Be sure your business goals align with your ultimate goals as an entrepreneur. If your goal is to create an organization in which your employees run the show and you just show up on Monday, don’t create goals that will chain you to your business.
Milestones are how your goal is broken down into smaller goals. For example, if your ultimate goal is to increase sales by $150,000 in your upcoming fiscal year, you might create quarterly sales goals, in turn, creating four milestones. When you set your milestones, be aware of market fluctuations that could impact your business. If 60 percent of your sales come during Q3 and Q4, make sure your milestones reflect this.
Goal mapping is the process of figuring out which strategies will help you accomplish goals and milestones. Each strategy has a workflow associated with it, and each workflow has a set of tasks that need to be completed. Goal mapping can feel a bit overwhelming at first. But you don’t have to carry the burden of goal mapping alone. Enlist the help of your team as you create your goal map. You likely have a group of talented people ready to perform. Using their talent during the goal-mapping process helps create buy-in.
Here’s how you can see goal mapping in action:
Strategies are the ways in which you’ll increase your sales to reach your quarterly milestones. Maybe in Q1 you’ll revamp an existing product, build a new email campaign focused on sales and host a live paid event. Each one of these is a different strategy. Keep your strategies as simple as possible — creating highly complex strategies, or too many strategies, will burden and subsequently burn out your team.
Each strategy has an associated workflow in order to execute it. The workflow to revamp an existing product might be to determine what your customer needs, review competitor products, identify gaps in the market, make the necessary changes and relaunch the products.
Tasks are the to-dos of each workflow. While the workflow is what you do, the tasks are how you get it done. A list of tasks associated with determining customer needs might be to invite your best customers to participate in a focus group, and then review the results with your team to brainstorm new ideas. You get the idea.
It wouldn’t be a good use of time to come up with workflows and tactics for each strategy all at once, as your strategies could change based on your milestone results. Give yourself time to work through goal mapping, and get your team involved. Your team is your greatest asset, so let them shine.
Having an annual goal-setting meeting is a great way to start the process. During the kickoff meeting, discuss milestones and strategies to reach those goals. Once your milestones and strategies are in place, give your team time to create the workflows associated with each strategy. Then, come back together for goal-mapping sessions to discuss ideas and make any revisions necessary. Then, let them go off to develop the tasks associated with workflow.
It could look something like this:
- July – Annual kickoff meeting. Reveal next year’s goals and create the milestones and strategies to reach those goals.
- August – First goal-mapping meeting. The team comes back together to discuss their workflow ideas for each strategy for quarter one. Ideas are approved or revised and deadlines are created. Then, the meeting is adjourned and the team begins creating the tasks associated with each workflow.
- December – Second goal-mapping meeting. Everything happens in the same manner as above, except this time you and your team are working on Q2.
You get the idea. Goal mapping is a continual process. The hard part is doing this for the very first time. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll have templates that you can use for future goal-mapping meetings.