No doubt, on most days you often wear more than one hat. It comes with the job. Sometimes, though, it feels like the only hat you get to wear is a firefighter’s helmet. When managers move into firefighting mode their priorities shift. Putting out the fire becomes all consuming. Another fire comes alone and priorities evaporate, again. The longer you are forced to wear your firefighter’s helmet, the greater is the chance your other goals will get derailed. When this happens, your business begins to experience “goal incineration”.
Expect to be a firefighter. Acknowledge firefighting is an ongoing task and start doing what firefighters do. They set their goals with the expectation there will be fires. Between fires, they are committed to maintaining their equipment, training, community involvement and working to complete long term objectives. Here are some proven tips on how to prevent your goals from going up in flames.
Create SMART Objectives
Work with your team to get a shared vision for objectives. Make the team objectives SMART.
Specific: Describe the end product of the task to be completed. It should be written in such a way for anyone reading the objective to interpret it the same way.
Measurable: Describe how you will know the end product meets expectations. Use a quantitative terms to describe quantity, quality, frequency, costs.
Achievable: Someone must be assigned the responsibility for completing the objective on time. The person assigned to the task must have the capability of fulfilling the expectation within the time frame, opportunity and resources available.
Relevant: Answer the questions, “Should it be done?”, “What will be the impact?”, “What is the benefit?”, “How will it increase profits, reduce cost or increase customer service?”
Time-oriented: Define when an objective will be done. Include specific start, end and check point dates.
Get the message out
On a regular basis, communicate the vision and objectives to the entire company. Make certain everyone knows the progress and how they will be contributing to the success of the initiative. Let all the employees know what is in it for them when the objective is completed.
Modify it to fit your needs. Once the other person signs your non-disclosure disclosure agreement you can be certain they will be ready for a focused business discussion about what you are going to sell. You’ll get useful answers to your questions.
Show them the scorecard
People get in a race to cross the finish line because crossing the finish line feels really great. Knowing you will cross the finish line at the end of the race can be equally exhilarating. Letting employees know how close they are to the finish line helps keep motivation high. Publish the progress in a way they will find easy to understand. Let every employee know the line has been crossed. Celebrate success with everyone, at the same time, as quickly as possible.