When you set a goal, you may want to figure out the quickest way to achieve that goal, but it may make sense to slow yourself down a little and think a little deeper. Slowing down your goal plan also allows you to think what tweaks you may need to make to your original plan. Here are 3 questions to ask to gauge if you need to slow down your goal-getting so the end result turns out even better—and is sustainable for the long term.
Thinking of your goal, ask yourself these questions.
What is another way for you to reach the goal you set?
Now that you had time to set and plan your goal as well as act on that plan, are you happy with the results so far? Or can you make tweaks to your plan to get to a better end result for the long term strategy?
Example: You set a goal for your company of bringing in a certain amount of new business in the next two months. As you begin on your goal path, you start bringing in new business, but you feel it’s not the type of clients you really want. Sure, you’re getting close to your number goal, but for the sake of the long term plan, you may need to stop and reassess how you are finding new clients and qualifying them so you have more “A” clients in the future.
What problems are you having and how are they impacting you or your team?
Embarking on a goal plays into your emotions. Ensure your mindset is still ready to take on the goal as you planned it. Maybe there are some extenuating circumstances beyond your control. If that’s the case, it may be time to take a step back and handle those issues before burning yourself-or your team- out. You can reset your plan so when you are ready, you can start again.
Example: As a leader in your company, you set a goal of having your team receive training in the next 3 months to help with their client communication. However, as you begin setting schedules, you see that a new software is also being implemented as well as a few team members talking about the stress they are under. Instead of pushing the goal, it’s probably time to switch your focus and work on your team’s stress level and regroup. I suggest even setting a “Regroup” meeting to determine if the team is ready at a later date. This is a prime example of when a leader should not be making a final decision, but rather having their team set a time for completion.
Based on the speed you are working at now, how likely are you to sustain your new habits?
You probably started working on your goal with a newfound energy, ready to take on anything and solely focusing on getting to the finish line, but is it sustainable? Will In a Harvard Business Review article, Need Speed? Slow Down, the authors differentiate between “operational speed (moving quickly)” and strategic speed (reducing the time it takes to deliver value)”. In operational speed, a company may produce more at a quicker pace, but over time, value goes down once people are burnt out.
Example: You set the goal for a niche practice group in your company to create more and better thought leadership for publication on the company website. However, you set a goal to get all the articles done in the span of 6 weeks so the team doesn’t have to think about marketing the rest of the year. The process becomes cumbersome to the team members who are spending a lot of extra hours trying to get their articles done while juggling their normal work load. Also, you are sending the message that this work is unimportant most of the time. Instead, take a look to see that you are helping to create and encourage new habits for your team. If you slow down the goal to spread it out throughout the year, you are giving people more time to think deeper on a topic as well as encourage them to spend time thinking about how to market themselves as a thought leader throughout the year.
If you find you need to shift your strategy, you can expect additional time before the goal is achieved, but creating a new, sustainable habit or process is worth the extra time.
If you are looking for help in setting sustainable goals for your team, please reach out to us for some ideas by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.