Use this common budgeting technique to set goals that are more relevant and actionable.
When you’re setting goals, you can borrow a technique from a common budgeting process called zero-based budgeting. What you do is look at last year, forget about it, and then look at where you are today and what you can achieve going forward. Every dollar you’re going to spend in the budget is justified. And every number you’re going to deliver is based on your current reality.
You can take this same approach with your goals. Don’t let history always influence what you’re capable of. You could be leaving a lot of value on the table. Instead, forget the past, look at what you have today in terms of resources, and build from the bottom-up to set your goals. If you achieved 10% growth last year, that doesn’t matter. Look at your resources today. Ask what they can achieve going forward because that will set a more appropriate goal.
Imagine you’re running a team of IT professionals. Last year, the team completed 47 projects and coded 128 programs. Under the last year plus 10% mindset, your goals for this year should be 52 projects and 140 programs. But that might not be right. We added three new team members, and five of them went to training and improved their skills. Working with zero-based goal setting and working from the bottom-up, we find out we can do 74 projects and code 220 programs.
You may be surprised with the opportunities that come out when you look at your resources today, forget about the past, and set goals for the organization going forward. The zero-based approach is going to make those goals more relevant, more actionable, and hopefully, bigger than you would get with a last year plus 10% approach.
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