As many teams dart, charge and race toward the finish line of 2020, they may find difficulty staying focused. Thanksgiving arrives next week in all its turkey and sweet-potato glory. Then, the heart of the holiday season follows soon after. In all the festive chaos, the typical whirlwind that throws off your daily plans turns into a veritable storm of tasks to get done. To stay focused and goal-oriented, here are a few ideas to help you out:
- Get incredibly specific with your Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). In real estate, the three most important words are location, location, location. With goals it’s clarity, clarity, clarity. The clearer you are about your goals and objectives the better chance you have of achieving them. Remember, the number of WIGs you set has an inverse relationship to the number of WIGs you’ll accomplish. Set 2-3 goals and you’re likely to accomplish them all. Set 11-20 goals and you might not accomplish any. Goals can also be framed in a way that makes them more attainable. For instance, saying, “I’d like to exercise more” is a good goal but it isn’t specific enough; if instead you say, “I’m going to run around my block five days a week for the next month,” you’ve added the kind of motivating specificity that sets you on the right track.
- Understand exactly why your goal-accomplishing efforts succeeded or failed. For people with natural talent, this is difficult. When they do well, they may not know how to repeat what they did to achieve sustainable success because they just innately were able to get it done. Whether your skillset is natural-born or you’ve worked hard to hone it, critically analyze what’s working and what’s not, so you can eliminate the bad and double down on the good. In leadership, this means examining the habits that create the foundation for everything we do. When we complete these kinds of examinations, we can manufacture our own success instead of waiting for success to find us without knowing why it did. We can generate the kinds of behaviors that will result in optimal outcomes for us and for our teams
- Accountability can identify your super powers. Part of holding team members accountable is creating a clear understanding of everyone’s roles and responsibilities. When that happens, there’s a unity and synchronicity to the work accomplished you won’t find when roles and responsibilities are less clearly delineated. How can a team member hold another person accountable if they’re not sure what that team member is supposed to do?
- Learn, learn, learn. In today’s world, knowledge is readily accessible at our fingertips. If a goal seems out of reach or too challenging, it’s possible to overcome that difficulty with a surge of newfound wisdom. The learning we need to accomplish our goals is out there, as long as we are willing and open to receiving it. Writing for the Harvard Business Review, authors Kenneth Mikkelsen and Harold Jarche say: “The best leaders are the best learners.”
- Learn about yourself. How competent are you at the activities—the lead measures —you must accomplish to achieve your goals? It’s okay if the answer is that you’re not that competent (you’ll just have to increase your skills). The key is that by knowing your competence, you can assess and create next steps with much more precision and efficacy. Learning about yourself and what you’re capable of accomplishing helps create realistic action plans for goal accomplishment.
- Take note of your mindset. What we think is what we do and eventually, who we become. When a negative feeling or mood enters your mind, acknowledge it and quickly replace it with a positive thought. It can be something as simple as, “Here is what I learned from this negative situation.” Goal-accomplishment and a positive mindset walk hand in hand. It’s important in any business and for all leaders to maintain the right mindset to become strong, positive and in control.
- Play full out. In his book, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” Norman Peale explains: “Give every bit of yourself. Hold nothing back. Life cannot deny itself to the person who gives life his all.” When you set a goal, you set a goal.It’s a commitment to do everything in your power to achieve it. I’ve always tried to find those tiny advantages in business where victory would mean getting the next deal and defeat meant coming in second. As John Wooden said, “Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
So, what’s the message? Focus on the future. We’ve got less than two months left in 2020 and what you do next will determine how you’re positioned for 2021. With renewed focus and commitment on the most high-impact things you can do to achieve your goals, you’re already that much closer to an incredible new year.
This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.