We all know goals are important. Everyone needs them, yet it’s also easy to simply give lip service. Or, maybe the goals stay in your head. Whatever the case, businesses rely on many types of goals, like monthly sales or customer acquisition targets. Top-line revenue or a specific number of new and/or returning customers are examples. Financial results could include gross margin or net income for a given month or quarter matter. And, in the marketing world, there are always objectives and key results, such as launching a new product or service on time and budget, generating a specific number of new leads, increasing landing page conversions by a specific percent, or decreasing bounce rate values before a certain date. The sheer number of options is the reason why goals can be so tough to achieve.
Finding and pursuing the right goal can be challenging. With so many choices available, it can be hard to narrow down the ones that matter most. Then, there’s the method behind crafting goals that actually bring results, which affects attainment. Vague goals can be tough to achieve because they're either too easy, abstract or just plain boring. And setting no goal usually means it’s easy to get distracted and make little to no progress. Then it’s easy to ask or think, why even do it? Fair point.
The Reason to Set and Pursue A Goal
The reason to set and pursue a goal is all about the desire to experience something new and to know yourself and your business enough to put yourself in a position to succeed. In short, goals help you flourish. As Barbara Fredrickson states in The Role of Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology, “Flourishing describes a state of optimal human functioning, one that simultaneously implies growth and longevity, beauty and goodness, robustness and resilience, and generativity and complexity.”
To do this, it’s important to understand the relationship between a goal and your performance towards it. Gary Latham and Gerard Seijts suggest individuals, teams, and organizations are much more likely to achieve a given goal if four conditions are met. These are the questions that must be answered positively to improve goal performance.
Answering “yes” to all of these questions means you’re putting yourself in a position to succeed. Otherwise, you may need to go back to the drawing board to reframe the goal in a way that turns your “no” into a “yes.”
The Rewards of Better Goal Performance
Then, growth suddenly moves from being plateaued or in decline to being on the up and up. That’s when you’ll say, “grow business grow!”
Your ability to define, acquire and use necessary resources (e.g., technological, knowledge, financial, etc.), commit to persist and to overcome barriers and to measure progress affects goal attainment. Repeat: you need the ability, resources, commitment, and openness to receive feedback to achieve any goal. The more you do these things, the more you increase confidence and the likelihood of success. In turn you feel less anxiety, distress, nerves, or tension around achieving goals.
The more you find ways to learn, to create and maintain productive behavior, and to perform well, the more achieving goals will become second nature. Before long, you’ll be able to identify a goal, make and measure progress, overcome adversity along the way, know how to plan and allocate resources, and to gather feedback along the way.