I speak with a lot of business owners about setting goals and determining how to get their businesses to the next level, whatever that next level might look like. Most of the time, especially this time of year, we as business leaders will look over what we accomplished (or didn't accomplish!) over the past year and determine what we want or need to accomplish this year. Some of us will take a short view and launch outward, others of us will take the long view or horizon and plan backwards. Sometimes, we just set a goal and try to figure things out along the way.
One of the things that we may not be taking into consideration is why we didn't accomplish certain goals last year, and what will be different. Doing the same thing the same way will net... the same results. Therefore, it is logical to assume that there was some reason that we did not follow through on some of the goals that we had.
One of the reasons that goals fail is that they don't have a lot of substance to them. Even if you go through the process of strategic planning or setting SMART goals or BHAGS or whatever your process is, without understanding and planning for the requirements, you have already reduced the likelihood of the project's success. Dimes to dollars, this may be a reason why so many projects never see the light of day.
If you treat your goals like a project or a series of projects, with specific milestones, check ins/updates, planning for how you will get the resources require and an understanding of the risks involved, you multiply the likelihood of success exponentially. Having someone to hold you accountable, like a board of directors, a business coach or advisor will increase the likelihood of success all the more.
For this reason, according to Justin Ashooh Senior Account Executive at Learnsmart, it would be wise for managers to have a good understanding of project management. Project management can be looked at as the way that goals are achieved within the requirements allotted for those goals. Which means that when you plan a project, you aren't necessarily going to need to disrupt the rest of your business in order to accomplish it... and if you do need to disrupt it, you will have planned ahead to ensure that your customers are well taken care of.
Project management goes beyond creating a list of tasks and assigning dates and people to them... it is a logical progression with milestones that make sense. For example, you wouldn't assume that just because you have started a marketing campaign, and marketing campaigns typically pay for themselves with 'X' time period that you can bank without a doubt on that being the case. There are many factors to consider, such as the economy, competitors, new technologies, trends, the season, etc. People typically don't purchase bathing suits in the fall. Therefore, it may not be the best time of year to invest in a marketing campaign for them. You will end up either paying more for the campaign or getting less effective results.
Project management also goes beyond sticking your tasks and milestones into a computer. Like marketing, your project must be nurtured. It won't progress on its own. If you know that business is typically going to get to the point where you cannot manage your projects and your business, you need to find someone else to help, whether that be an assistant, a project manager or an advisor, that will hold you accountable for making sure that projects progress.
Don't get me wrong; project management software is excellent. We find it essential to operating our company and we use it with our clients. However, it doesn't work if it is not used! If no one is updating the system and monitoring the deliverables, it is no more effective than a sun dial on a cloudy day.
Your goals for your company are important. Accomplishing those goals is even more important. If you are working to build an extraordinary company, you already know that it is not an overnight task. It will take being able to build, monitor and support your goals like they are projects.
Rick Meekins is passionate about helping business leaders start, run and grow extraordinary businesses. He focuses on helping leaders clarify their business goals and develop strategies to achieve them. He is a strong believer in alignment between people, purpose, passion and pursuit. He believes that people working in alignment with their individual purposes is the foundation for successful businesses and successful communities.
Mr. Meekins is the Founder & Principal at Aepiphanni: The Business Strategy People, a boutique consulting firm based in Metro Atlanta, Ga. Aepiphanni is a Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to providing leadership and direction in the areas of operations, communications, branding, leadership and marketing. Their work has helped business owners expand their businesses, increase revenues, reduce costs and pursue sustainable futures. For further information, please contact them, directly, at 678-265-3908, email them at email@example.com, or visit their website at http://www.aepiphanni.com.
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