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Today I want to take my popular 12 Steps to Achieve Any Goal and apply it to the business world. These 12 steps will help you as you advance in your career or even as you switch careers. We will cover the first 6 steps in this article:

1. Define your most important and audacious goal. This is the goal you most want to achieve, even if it seems unrealistic or not feasible. Although you don’t want to be totally unrealistic, be bold. Whether it’s to retire by age 50 or become CEO of your own company, it should be a goal that is completely in line with your true self and values. You can also set an audacious goal for your department or entire business and enlist your co-workers in this process.

2. Have a clear deadline. Unfortunately, being the human creatures we are, most of us won’t achieve our goals without a deadline. How many projects would you complete if your boss said, “It doesn’t matter when you finish this project.” How many clients would you acquire if your attitude was, “I don’t do deadlines.” You should also set deadlines for your goals. It’s so easy to not take your goals seriously and to not assign deadlines to them but I urge you to do so. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll accomplish once you start setting deadlines.

3. Measure Success. I believe any goal can be measured, whether directly or indirectly. For example, a goal to speak at 6 conferences/local events in the next year is easy to measure. A goal for your customer service department to respond to a certain number of emails per day within a certain time frame is also very easy to measure.

A goal to “improve communication with my employees” is not as easy to measure. You’ll need to develop “soft” measures. If your goal is improved communication, ask yourself questions such as: Do you have more frequently communication with your employees? Do you come away from meetings and one-on-one interactions feeling like you understood each other? Is there now less of a need for frequent meetings because you communicate more freely in email and in person?

4. Define your compelling reasons. It will be difficult to achieve your goals if you don’t know your reasons for wanting to pursue that goal. Sometimes we choose a goal because we know it would please someone else or simply because it sounds good. Forcing yourself to understand your reasons will help you determine if the goal is worthwhile. Here are some common reasons for pursuing a business goal: To make more money to support your family, to have greater intellectual and emotional stimulation, to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others, etc. These reasons should have as much emotion as possible. Don’t think the reasons have to impress anyone else.

5. Define the benefits you expect to gain. This will help motivate you (and others, if you’re working as a team toward a common goal). If your goal is improved communication with employees in your department, possible benefits could be increased sense of community, increased profits and bonuses, to be a role model and inspiration to other departments.

6.  Define the consequences of not achieving your goal. Sometimes our goals come into sharper focus if we stop and think about the consequences of failing to pursue our goal. We tend to go to great lengths to avoid pain. So think about the pain that will result if you fail.

If your department’s goal is to reduce the number of refunds for your product, the pain that results is decreased profits, less opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of your customers, less sense of teamwork among your employees/co-workers.
Remember that all of these steps apply to group goals as well as individual goals. I encourage you to work on group goals with your co-workers and entire department as well.
Next time, I’ll cover the final 6 steps of my 12 Steps to Achieve Any Goal in Business. Stay tuned!
In the meantime feel free to download my 12 Steps to Achieve Any Goal report and worksheet.