Achieving your goals is all about taking tangible steps every day. If you change your time horizon and ask yourself six simple questions, you’ll find you’re achieving your goals more rapidly than you ever thought possible.
Today’s post is by David Horsager, author of THE DAILY EDGE: Simple Strategies to Increase Efficiency and Make an Impact Every Day (CLICK HERE to get your copy).
I met an eighty-eight-year-old man named Orville at my health club. I first noticed him one afternoon while checking in at the front desk. He was stumbling along behind me. There was no way this man, slowly shuffling along the path to the gym, was going to do any kind of meaningful workout! Orville patiently moved, inch by inch, into the weight-training area, picked up some dumbbells, and, with an audible grunt, started his routine.
One day I happened to see Orville out of the corner of my eye, stepping onto one of the treadmills. I was across the room, and he was already reaching for the start button. Too far away to help him, I just stood there and watched. As the treadmill came to life, Orville took one small step, and then another. The machine picked up speed, but miraculously, so did his legs. Within a minute, he hit full stride, running like a man half his age!
At this point the reality of the situation dawned on me. Orville’s problem was not with his legs, it was with his vision. He couldn’t see where he was going. Though Orville did nothing to cause his vision problem, it is a powerful example of how limited we are when we lack clarity and vision.
How often do leaders and employees lack clarity in their communication, and as a result, drive forward ambiguous goals?
I think 90 days is the best timeframe for most goals. A year is too long – see how few people keep New Year’s Resolutions? Twenty-one days is too short for most real change. However, in 90 days, I was able to lose 33 pounds! And I’ve seen people triple their sales in 90 days.
That’s why I like the 90-Day Quick Plan. It is a strategy for clarifying how you are going to achieve your most vital goals.
Pick an area of your business or personal life that you’d like to address, and then ask six questions. Don’t wait to start because the plan should take less than thirty minutes to create. All you need to do is ask and answer these six questions:
Question 1: Where am I? If you do not know where you are today, you cannot know where you would like to be in the future. Ask this question and you will be able to quickly identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. For example, where am I in my relationship with my kids? Where am I in my health? Where am I in comparison to expected sales? Where are we as far as the number of people we are reaching with our message or product?
Question 2: Where am I going in 90 days? This is not one year or five years like many strategic plans. Thinking about your answer in Question 1 about where you would like to be in 90 days, write a clear, quantifiable (numerical) goal. You will likely accomplish more than you thought in just 90 days!
Question 3: Why am I going? If the “Why” is strong enough, the plan does not need to be perfect. If a building is burning and my kids are in it, I don’t need to know every detail—I’m going in because my “Why” is so strong. When you are motivated and unified, you’ll do the little things differently. You’ll stay passionate and focused, and you’ll finish well.
Question 4: How am I going to get there? Keep asking “How?” until you commit to taking specific actions.
Question 5: How am I going to get there? I press people to ask, “How?” until they have come up with a specific action they will take starting today or tomorrow at the latest. Be tough on yourself with this.
Question 6: How am I going to get there? This is not a mistake. I have found that most people must ask, “How?” at least three times before they are clear enough. It may take asking “How?” seven times in order to get enough clarity. Don’t stop asking “How” until you have decided on a specific action that will be taken starting today or tomorrow.
After working through a personal example, you can see how valuable the 90-Day Quick Plan could be for your team or business unit. Give it a try. Clarity is increased when a message is heard or seen frequently so communicate your goal often. For the trusted leader, clarity starts with honesty. Start with getting clear and then communicate it often. Whether through a company-wide memo in a Fortune 500 company, or in a weekly team meeting in a small business, sharing the vision often and being honest about the progress, are essential steps toward building trust in your leadership and in your organization.
As a leader, what is getting in the way of getting and sharing a clear vision? And How? How? How? are you going to get there?
David Horsager, MA, CSP, is a business strategist, entrepreneur, and author of national bestseller The Trust Edge. His new book is THE DAILY EDGE: Simple Strategies to Increase Efficiency and Make an Impact Every Day (CLICK HERE to get your copy). For more information, please visit www.DavidHorsager.com.
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