It’s estimated that almost half of all Americans make a New Year’s resolution.
What a horrendous track record for something so incredibly well adopted in our culture. It’s a lot of failure year over year. (Kinda’ counter to the overall objective, no?)
So, why do they fail?
Oftentimes the answer is very similar, whether you have a lofty annual sales goal or a weight loss goal that would make Richard Simmons proud: You need to set these goals in a smart way, and practice diligence in achieving them.
Below are four best practices that offer a great place to start. As you use them to reinforce your new year’s sales goals, coach your team in smart goal setting so they can achieve their personal resolutions and professional goals, too.
1. Keep it simple.
Strive to make your main annual goal singular. We are always busy. Today’s top priorities interrupt yesterday’s top priorities, leaving little room for anything else. It needs to be absolutely clear what specific thing you are aiming for each day. If faced with an entire stack of goals instead, you (or your team) will likely revert back to what you do everyday and hope for the best. Ninety-two percent of people do.
2. Make it measurably specific.
Many companies today have CRMs that allow them to track just about any activity that occurs within their business. This makes it fairly easy to create measurable goals, which is important; otherwise, how do you know when a goal has been achieved, or better yet, surpassed?
This goes for personal resolutions, too. “I’ll go to the gym more” or “I’m going to lose weight” doesn’t give you much to aim for, and that “aim” is critical to maintaining motivation. Instead, “I’ll go 3 times a week for 3 months” OR “I’m going to lose 5 pounds this month, 8 pounds next month” will tell you what to work toward.
3. Make it attainable.
This one is difficult. We don’t want to doubt our ability. We naturally want to stretch ourselves, because the prospect of overachieving is appealing. So where do you start? Look at your track record of performance around this goal, identify any patterns of success and stretch from there.
This likely means setting incremental milestones — specific, measurable milestones. For example, if you know you were able to workout 3x/week for one month last year, you can stretch in that healthy resolution. Shoot for getting back to that 3x/week workout for a month, then move up to 4x/week for the two months following that, and so on.
4. Make it visible.
With those sales resolutions, keep your teams hyperaware of their goals and progress. Sending out a report once a week can help, but with how much happens in a day — much less a week — you can’t expect that to drive consistent focus on any given behavior. As often as possible, give your team performance updates in real time instead.
These four best practices will help you and your team to set some smart resolutions, or to make sure those you already set make sense. It just takes discipline from there.