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Got Goals? Congratulations! 7 Steps to Getting Traction in the Coming Year

By Barbara Nuss, CPA
Profit Soup

Congratulations! Your team just completed its first-ever strategic planning day. The creative ideas flowed freely. The team set challenging performance goals, created a plan to address two big structural issues and chose one exciting new opportunity to develop. Everybody exchanged high-fives at the end of the day.

It’s one thing to have a vision and another to create sustained change, especially when we find ourselves back in the familiar fray of life in a closely held business. It’s easy to slip into the old routines and let the tyranny of our urgent day-to-day problems crowd out our important long-term goals. Unless you change things up, before you know it the year will have passed, and your retreat goals will be a distant memory.

Here are 7 steps to build and maintain traction towards your big important goals.

Image of a team meeting, with people collaborating and discussing ideas.

1 — Create and Monitor the right Key Performance Indicators

Determine the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will drive progress towards your big goals. Create a scorecard that includes KPIs that measure leading indicators, the predictors of success. The scorecard will keep you and your team focused on the activities that influence results. Lagging indicators, while important, only measure the end-results of your efforts.

2 — Efficiently Capture the Information Needed for your KPIs

Figure out how to efficiently capture the information you need to track your performance indicators. Your team should spend their time focusing on the KPIs and activities they measure, not on trying to get the data together. Delegate, use technology, establish a system and make sure people are comfortable with it.

3 — Create A Regular Review Routine and Stick to It

To avoid slipping back into the old ways, create a new way of doing things – but don’t make it complicated. Once you’ve got a scorecard with the right KPIs, create a routine around sharing it and meeting on the team’s progress. Then stick to it. Make the time a priority. You can’t say the meeting is on the third Friday of every month, and then skip it if someone (especially if that if that person is you) is just too busy.

4 — Meet with a Purpose

The KPI review meeting has a specific purpose: to review progress towards goals, as measured by your KPIs. During the meeting, you and the team will celebrate success when you have a win or surpass a goal. When there are roadblocks or shortfalls, work together to brainstorm solutions. For every call to action (CTA), agree on the timeline and the person responsible before anyone leaves the room. The next meeting begins with sharing “wins and wows,” followed by an update on KPIs and a report from each person on their CTA from the prior meeting.

5 — Create a Culture of Accountability

As a leader, you must nurture a positive atmosphere of problem solving and help your team find a pathway forward, even when the path isn’t yet entirely clear. When a team member has not met their goals, instead of leading with blame, start with questions: Was it the wrong goal? The wrong plan? Did something unforeseen happen? Does that team member have the right skills, resources or opportunities to succeed? Do other team members have ideas for a solution? It’s not a one-way conversation. It’s called “coaching up” and it is part of how you build a functional team. Yes, there must still be accountability; you can’t ignore performance problems. If a person is not right for their job, you will need to make a change. This could mean finding someone who is right and moving them to a better fitting position. That could be a role within your company or encouragement that they seek employment elsewhere. Regardless, coaching must be part of the process.

6 — Get Coaching Yourself

You wouldn’t expect Pete Carrel to run out on field and play alongside his Seahawks, so why would we expect a leader to both participate in and lead a meeting at the same time? Even leaders who are good coaches can benefit from not having to function as a “player/coach.” A good outside coach or facilitator can be a great asset. They provide and model good coaching to both the leader and the team members during the meeting and help keep the conversation driving towards the objective.

7 — Gather, Rinse and Repeat

Wrap up the meeting on time. People should leave your meeting feeling like they’ve accomplished something and that the time was productive. Be clear on the CTAs for the next meeting. If you are going to be out of town, appoint someone to lead next month’s meeting in your absence. This way you can keep the momentum toward your goals AND your team’s development going at a steady and persistent clip. Now that’s traction!

More Resources

Listen in as Profit Soup Founder Barbara Nuss talks about Keeping On Track as part of our podcast series, Small Bits of Business Insights, produced in partnership with the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence.

About the Author

Barbara Nuss

Founder and president of Profit Soup. She is a teacher, business advisor, passionate advocate for better business thinking and frequent speaker at franchise and association conventions.

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