In Action, Change

“When it’s obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius

It’s important in every business to have a few clear, concise goals or targets to shoot for. For that matter, it’s important in our personal lives as well. Something that pushes us, something that focuses our passion on a result, something that creates some energy.

Most businesses have some form of a goal, even if it’s as simple as a budget. Usually a group of key people – or a key person – sat down somewhere and hashed out WHERE they wanted their organization to be, hopefully in a way they can measure. Maybe they went one step further and worked through HOW they’re going to get there – strategies, actions, etc. They probably left their meeting very excited and energized.

And then reality happened. We all know nothing ever goes exactly the way you plan it. So whatever those measurable goals & targets were, somewhere along the line some of them appear to become unreachable. So what do you do?

In my experience, there are a few possible outcomes. One choice some organizations make is to adjust their goals downward and then later pretend like they got what they wanted all along. You set 20% growth as a target and then when you got 8% you say, hey, we’re really excited about 8%, way to go team. Nobody mentions that 20% was what you were really after.

Another option is to just quit. You decide halfway through the year that 20% growth isn’t going to happen, so you just stop talking about growth altogether. You hope if you just don’t talk about it maybe people will forget that was the goal in the first place.

The best option, though, is to reevaluate what you thought you needed to do to reach that goal, and then change what you’re doing. Why aren’t you progressing towards that target of 20% growth? What assumptions did you make that turned out to be incorrect? What didn’t you really understand about your marketplace, or your product, or your people? And what would have to happen to get things back on track?

Don’t settle for something you don’t want or just plain give up on what you do. Think about where you are in relation to where you want to be – and then do something differently. You have the ability to change your future if you are willing to change your choices & actions in the present. Start today.

head in the sand


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