Tag: goals

Decentralizing Decisions

When I was in high school I read, “7 Habits of Highly Successful People.” I come back to the principles proposed in this book again and again. One of the most powerful habits is, “Begin with the end in mind.” As it pertains to small business growth, an application of this is creating a vision for your business.

I’ve created at least four visions over the course of fourteen years. I did this mostly because it’s considered a “best practice.” None of these ended being much more than a thought exercise. Because of these experiences, I considered visions to be stock advice that people bandied about with little link to actual impact.

However, I reconsidered the importance of having a vision last fall when I was setting employee goals. We had shifted gears to work on a six week cycle of objective setting. It took me a couple of days to plan, delegate, and communicate these objectives.

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The Inherent Power in Basics

I watched a webinar on the financial management of agencies last week. Over the course of an hour, a consultant took us through a byzantine spreadsheet that forecast profit based on how your agency was configured. It was filled with numbers, tables, highlighting and took up every millimeter of screen real estate.

Using the spreadsheet you could model changes to your business. What if you hired a new developer? What if you changed your pricing? What if you decreased time off? This impressive spreadsheet could tell you what the result would be.

At the end of the call, he asked for questions.

I asked, “What are the top changes that your clients come back to again and again?”

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The Next Level is Within

I spent a month wandering Japan and following the changing colors of autumn as it made its way south in 2018. I traveled by train and as I sat by the window staring out at the shifting colors, I thought about my recent failures to achieve goals.

Prior to the trip, I had set some challenging objectives. I threw myself into achieving them and failed. It was disheartening. The reason I was unsuccessful was because many of the goals weren’t in my full control. They were dependent on external and unknown factors. But if I didn’t set goals beyond my current abilities or knowledge, I wouldn’t grow. That meant I wouldn’t expand my capabilities to take on similar larger goals. It was a catch-22 where any useful goal would likely end with disappointment.

When it comes to growing your business, much of what you want to do is in the category of uncontrollable and unknown. Because if it was controllable and known, you would have already achieved it.

In this way, our business reality is a reflection of our current capabilities.

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