Define Success Before You Design It

By Jack Daly

1. “I” Identify “where you are”, your baseline. One can’t begin moving in the right direction until one knows where one is at the present. An effective analogy is to imagine wanting to travel coast to coast. If you didn’t know which coast you were starting from, the journey could be a long and wet one as you started out with just a destination in mind. As well, knowing where you are helps you determine what will be necessary for you to get to the destination.

2. Identify “where you want to be”, your end state goal. Putting this in writing is a must, otherwise we call this dreaming, not goals. Dreams don’t often come true, but goals in writing do. We call this “backward thinking”, determining the end zone and charting back to the present. It’s how you organize your view of the future that determines what the future is.

3. I‘ve heard a number of folks employ the acronym SMART effectively here. The “S” is for Specific. The key is to break down each of our goals into bite size chunks that will lead to getting the goal accomplished. One of my goals is to run a marathon (yea, 26.2 miles) in each of the 50 states. I have further broken this down to 4 per year, and went on to identify the specific 4 for 2004. Specificity!

 4. Next is “M”easureable. Inspect what you expect, with a minimum of a monthly review of results compared to plan. Some of the key candidates here for a sales professional include: phone calls (inbound/outbound), personal visits, presentations, proposals, orders taken, etc.

5. “A”ttainable is next on the list. Challenging, yes, but reachable, otherwise we risk the goals being de-motivating. This I call the reality test. If you are the #10 ranked salesperson in the company, probably not attainable to be #1, at least in a one year timeframe!

 6. “R” is for Realistic, and often this comes down to timeframes. Time blocking and scheduling are the keys to effective implementation. Scheduling your activities is essential to goal attainment.

7. “T” is for Trackable, which underscores the necessity for the activities necessary to accomplishing the goal be something which can be tracked and reported on. For many years I have effectively used the simple calendar, in which I record daily activities related to each of my goal action items, then summarize monthly and compare month-to-month results, as well as year-to-year performance on applicable items.

8. Too many in business think of goals in terms of only business. Broaden your thinking to personal/life quality goals. I once heard Dennis Waitley put this so well: “Most people spend more time planning Christmas and holidays than they do planning their life”. Make your goals multi-dimensionable.

9. Accountability. This is where one turns the heat up on oneself. Share your goals with people you respect and care about, and establish a system to review your performance with them and garner feedback. This review process should be minimally quarterly. I make it a regular practice of giving my goals to my 2 adult children, my wife, and my 2 business partners, for each to review my progress quarterly. Talk about pressure!

10. Once the goals are in writing and a system in place to help get the results, identify a few goals that are 1) non-negotiable, 2) most difficult and 3) most important. This will further emphasize the focus, and Focus Precedes Success.