Many of my client leadership teams pick a 10-year timeframe to set their big business goals—hence, we call it a “10-Year Target.” But in recent client sessions, there’s been quite a bit of debate around how to set their 10-Year Target. They had to get agreement on some philosophical and process approaches before they could start doing the actual work of setting their company goals.
Here are three main areas that teams tend to get hung up on when setting their big business goals.
1) What Is Your Company’s Goal-Setting Philosophy?
One of my clients recently got into a debate about whether their big goal was to achieve $5 Million in revenue or $50 Million in revenue. Wow, what a huge difference in perspectives! As the team passionately debated their big goal, it became clear that they were operating on two different goal-setting philosophies. Some members wanted to set ‘em to hit ‘em, while others wanted to go big and were okay if they fell short of the goal.
The team ultimately agreed upon using the goal-setting mindset of setting ‘em to hit ‘em—make the goal S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). They settled on $5M in revenue by the end of 2019 and agreed that it’s a stretch, but it’s also attainable and realistic.
2) Which Comes First: 10-Year Target or 1-Year Plan?
In another client session, the leadership team wanted to develop their 1-Year Plan before setting their 10-Year Target. Over the course of their company’s history, they had been in a routine of setting annual goals from one year to the next, so this felt normal to them. When I pushed them to set their 10-Year Target before coming up with their 2016 plan, it was awkward and counter-intuitive to them at first.
I helped the team to understand that once we decide what we want to achieve over the long term, it will help us to work backwards to determine a 1-Year Plan that has the right priorities at the right pace to put the company on track for the long-term result.
Yogi Berra has a great quote that sums it up well: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up somewhere else.”
3) Do You Really Want It? WHY?
Recently I had a situation in which a leadership team quickly agreed on their 10-Year Target. They were ready to move on to the next step, until I asked them, “Do you really want it? Why do you want it?”
A rich conversation followed about whether they really wanted to grow that big and what it would mean for the company and for each of them. They ultimately realized that they had picked the large number because they felt like they would achieve a higher level of respect within their industry.
As the debate continued, the team concluded that size didn’t really matter. It was more important to have a sustainable business that generated great profits. They would be personally happier, the company would be less complicated, and they wouldn’t have to make big capital investments if their company wasn’t quite as large. The goal they committed to was lower than the original revenue goal, but with a much higher net profit.
Take action with your team to set big goals that get results! Answer the three questions above with your leadership team, set your 10-Year Target, then get clear on your 1-Year Plan. Use your V/TO as a tool to capture your vision and plan.
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