Choose a Direction and Stop Setting all those Long Term Goals

Long term goals are tricky. First how far out in the future can a realistic goal be placed? If we don’t know anything else we do know long term goalsthat THINGS CHANGE. A long term goal for a common house fly might be measured in days if not hours. Elementary age students probably believe any goal measured in weeks is long term, while high school students might stretch that into months. However as adults we understand “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and some things just take time. Saving enough money for a down payment for a new house while you’re renting may require a one or two year goal. A coaches plan to build a championship program may set a goal at a few years. Saving money for retirement is often a 20 or 30 plus year goal. Living healthy might even be measured as a lifelong goal.

A common business goal setting strategy most everyone is familiar with is SMART goals. Though I’ve seen variances in the R – Realistic, Relevant, Results-Oriented…the T is always Time Bound.

If you’re in sales you have goals. Chances are you have more short term goals; as in how much will I sell today, this week, this month, or this quarter. Some goals you set, others are agreed upon, some may even be mandated, but rest assured your performance evaluations and your pay will in some way be tied to goals.

Companies have short term goals but in addition have more long term goals as it’s very common to find 2 year and 5 year goals. The CEO is often focused on the future and keeping the company growing and headed in the right direction or in sync with their vision.

You may be surprised though how many companies admit to doing a poor job of tracking their long term goals. What I say to that is why track them at all if they are five or more years out?  You see for a business to set and then start tracking long term goals can be a trap because they are using a baseline of what today’s business environment and resources are and not what tomorrows may be.

So rather than trying to predict the future, leaders should be trying to fit into the future as it happens. Instead of setting ten set goals, they should encourage a broad direction and adopt an evolutionary mind-set. That way, as the world changes, as the prices shift and breakthrough technology comes along, they can adapt.

As sales people take a lesson from this by setting and embracing short term goals. Hold yourself accountable to them. As for long term goals set a direction and let your short term goals help you stay the course.

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About Richard Scudder

I possess a passion to see others succeed in sales. After 25 years of sales and sales management it is with confidence I say “it is direction, not perfection” that counts. I partner with organizations to improve the performance of their sales associates. My clients and I share in common investing in their greatest resource “their people”. I facilitate motivational training that is fun, unique and creates a positive impact on sales performance. For more information on training sessions or speaking before your group contact me. scudderperformancepartners@gmail.com 615-440-7219

Posted on December 4, 2013, in Sales Goals and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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