How much do your goals mean to you?

Watching MOTO GP (motor bike racing if you’re not familiar) at the weekend, I was reminded of the importance of having goals, what should it feel like if you achieve them and how exactly goals should be approached.


The riders have all set their goals, for most of them it will be to win the race and probably to win the championship – they can’t all achieve it, it wouldn’t be a competition if they could.  When they do you can see from their reactions that this was something they really wanted to do and exactly how much it meant to them, but they will all approach it the same.


They have probably had instances when they haven’t succeeded (or failed), but they have picked themselves up (quite literally sometimes), looked at what went wrong, made changes if appropriate and tried again until their goal was finally achieved.  Without the goal being something that they fully believed in and sincerely wanted to do, there is no way that they would, or should, put themselves through the agony and heartache they do go through to achieve it.


When they do achieve their goal then the joy is there for all to see.  Their goals are highly visible to others – if they “fail” everybody knows it.  They can’t hide.  Their performance is being measured by everyone watching and they can’t rationalise away why they didn’t do something.   Equally the team knows what the goal is and works towards that one single goal.


The same should be applied to businesses.   Every business needs to have its goals and those goals need to

  • really mean something to the business and that probably means you – if they don’t mean something why would you push yourself to actually achieve them.  In MOTO GP failing can mean breaking bones, you wouldn’t do that unless it meant something.  In business the pain is different but every bit as real and you need to be prepared to fight for your goal.
  • be as stretching as trying to win a championship, but split up into smaller “race” wins along the way – your goal should be set in the future, but we all know this can’t be achieved in one go (if it can it’s not stretching enough), there will always be “races” to win and you need to set what exactly those race wins or targets are for your company.
  • have a race plan – every race or target is slightly different and you need to have a plan as to how you are going to achieve the result you want, from where you are now – not where you think you are but where you actually are.  Be honest.
  • be able to assess how you are progressing towards the goal (performance measures) – for MOTO GP this would not simply be did they win, but also how fast did I do, what was happening to the tyres, how fast was everyone else going, was the bike using too much fuel.  It is not sufficient to just look at the end result – that is only the result of doing everything else right.  You need to look at all the little elements that go to make up that win – number of customers who received their deliveries late, number of people who visited the website, no of quotes sent/accepted – whatever is critical to the success of your business.  Monitor and adjust accordingly.
  • visible – if it’s not visible to others you can always ignore it, and the more visible it is the more likely it is that you will achieve it.  Let your team know exactly what you and the business are trying to achieve.  This will have at least two impacts – you are more likely to achieve them and your team are also more likely to help you, as they know what they are trying to achieve as well.

So, what are your business goals?  If you achieve them how will you feel?  Do you have a plan with targets to know you are likely to achieve them?  Do you have the measurements in place to ensure all the necessary elements are working as they should and does somebody else other than you know what you’re trying to achieve?