Set Your Compass, Set Your Goals

Goal setting is as important in business as it is in life, and it is the most common subject written about in books on business success.  Most business books touch upon setting both long-term goals and short-term goals for business, as well as specific personal and life goals. Goal setting is a powerful process – one that turns vision into achievable, actionable things.  The numerous benefits of Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results oriented, Time-framed goals (S.M.A.R.T goals) have been written about for years.   It’s is often recognized as the common denominator of successful businesses and successful individuals. Even though we recognize the obvious value of goal setting, experience shows that some people are good at setting goals and sticking with them to achieve great results, while others struggle to set goals and can’t seem to keep on track for more than a few days. Failure to set goals can come from a fear of failure.  If the goals are not set, than there is no let down when goals are not reached.  Achievement boosts confidence in the ability to make and keep commitments. When a person does not achieve a goal, there is a loss of that confidence.  When someone makes and keeps commitments, such as setting and achieving goals, it reflects a certain amount self-trust and integrity. There are many reasons why a person fails to achieve set goals. Sometimes, the goals are unrealistic.  Sometimes, the goals are not clearly understood and are based on an illusion with little regard to natural growth and the work required to achieve them. You must crawl before you start to walk. What are the best ways to set and achieve goals? As Stephen R. Covey writes in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of one’s destination. It means to know where one is going so that the person can better understand where he is now and so that the steps he takes are always in the right direction.” Focusing on smaller, short-term goals and achieving success in those areas will give an individual the confidence to set other goals.  And it is important to set new goals based on the S.M.A.R.T. principle to have the best chance of achieving success. YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK:   Write down your goals for the next 30-60-90 days, make sure that they are SMART and then post them in a place that you will see them each and every day.  

Weasel Words

All of us have used them, all of us know them, all of us have hidden behind them at some point in our lives or used them in defense of an argument.  I’m talking about weasel words.  They are easy to recognize because they make everything else that you say less powerful.  They are words like IF, SHOULD, WHEN, HOWEVER, COULD. You might recognize them better in a more natural state like….
  • IF we looked at the needs of our customer….
  • We SHOULD consider how we market to that segment…
  • WHEN we find the time we need to followup…
  • HOWEVER, it seems like we don’t have what we need…
  • We COULD look at what the customer has to say…
These words are like kryptonite…. they leave you powerless. On the flip side there are words that you can use that will give you power.  Those words that illustrate ownership, accountability and responsibility.  Words like WILL and CAN. Along with words that promote timing, words like TODAY, BY THE END OF THIS WEEK, BEFORE WE LEAVE HERE.  These words show a sense of urgency and a call to act quickly or within a specific timeframe.  They supply us with a certain focus on getting things done.  They are powerful. YOUR CHALLENGE:  To remove the WEASEL WORDS from your vocabulary and feel the power!  

Delivering Your Value

If you have been following along, you now have your value proposition.  Once you know the FEELING that you are creating there is one more thing you need to do. You need to ask yourself three very important questions. 1 – What must I START doing in order to deliver my value proposition? Don’t attempt a complete overhaul, identify a few critical items that are most important to the delivery of your value proposition and add them to your processes.  Don’t waste your time complicating things, just look for a few high impact additions. 2 – What must I STOP doing in order to deliver my value proposition? This is the most critical question.  You need to identify what you are currently doing that is not adding to your value, it is simply wasting your time.  This question may take some thought to identify activities that you can STOP doing and replace with the activities that you must START doing to add to your value. 3 – What must I IMPROVE that I am currently doing today, but need to do even better? These are the things that you are currently doing right today, however, with some attention and commitment you can find ways to do them even more consistently or perhaps even more professionally.  Often times these items will require implementing a system or some additional training to get them to stick. So there it is, three simple questions that will drive massive improvements in the value you deliver to your customers! YOUR CHALLENGE:  Look at what you can START, STOP and IMPROVE to best deliver on your value proposition, and make them happen.

What is Your Value?

You must know your value AND be able to deliver it each and every day – without exception! Many businesses will say their value proposition is ‘excellent customer service’ or a ‘quality product’ or a ‘personal touch’.  Others will reference their reputation or long history of excellent performance.  You might think of your value in terms of a FEELING, a feeling that a customer gets when they do business with you. That’s right, a FEELING!  Think about it.  When a customer uses your product or service, how does that make them feel?  Do they get a sense of confidence, security, hope?  Maybe when they visit you, they get a sense of calm or relaxation?  Do they feel refreshed?  What is it you want them to FEEL? This is not intended to be one of those ‘touchy feely’ activity.  If 80% of a buying decision is emotion and 20% is logic, than this can be a critical assessment of how you connect with your prospects and customers.  By understanding what you want your customers to FEEL you can better connect with what you are trying to achieve in your business.  Once you are able to get to the FEELING then you can begin to leverage that FEELING in your marketing and sales process. Not everyone has a national name brand like Apple or Kleenex that you can rely on to generate a feeling, where the name speaks for itself.  Most of us are in a business where it is not about the brand or the specific product that is the real reason that people buy from you. They are buying from you because of the FEELING they felt when they do business with you. What is the FEELING that keeps them coming back time and time again? What is the FEELING in your business that generates referrals and creates raving fans? YOUR CHALLENGE:  Define your value in terms of a FEELING.  Spend some time this week as you engage with potential customers focusing the discussion on the FEELING that you want to create.