The Art of Goal Achievement

After consulting for over 300 companies and doing presentations for thousands more, I have found that they all have one thing in common. Businesses all over the world have had to face the fact that setting goals is a lot easier than achieving goals.

I have seen dozens of impressively bound and documented strategic plans collecting dust after goals set at expensive off-site meetings were unrealized. The reason most goals don't reach fruition is that the people who created them did so to please someone else, usually their CEO. Instead, your team needs to be set free to put into motion ideas that they feel strongly about and that will be beneficial to the company and its team members.

So here is a plan to get your team to not just set goals, but also achieve them. First let's reconsider the idea of SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely). This acronym has done more damage to business motivation than Dilbert.

The real truth is that if team members have their hearts in it, they will get to the finish line. I know the mere mention of hearts will make the "tough guys" cringe, but I've been doing this long enough to know that creating emotional buy-in works. The problem is that some leaders work long and hard to avoid "feelings" in the workplace.

The first step in harnessing this untapped resource is to believe in it. If that's a problem for you, just look at how you got to where you are in your life. Would you be here if you didn't have your heart in it? How do you create that same drive, buy-in, commitment, and power in your team? Well, as Obi-Wan said to Luke Skywalker, "Trust your feelings."

Use your gift of intuition to guide you in asking your people what it is about the direction of your company that's important to them. Once you have that alignment and you give them the power to create their vision, then all you have to do is to get out of their way. This final step can be harder for some than for others.

Empower your team members by actively supporting them in achieving the goals that they believe are best for the company. It will not only help you reach beyond your nicely packaged strategic plan, it will boost your profits to a level that only those who use this hidden force have been able to enjoy.