The Absolute Highest Return on Your Time Investment...

Please welcome Les Deck—our first outside contributor—to 1000 Small Businesses…Les chairs 3 Vistage International CEO roundtables, working with small and mid-sized cmpany CEO’s. He also served as my business coach and mentor and I know you’ll get great value from his knowledge and experience.— Steve

Set Your Personal and Business Goals for 2010

“You were born to win, but to be a winner you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” –- Zig Ziglar

“No one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“More people fail through lack of purpose than lack of talent.” — Billy Sunday

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” — Henry Ford

Affirmations are statements of goals you desire, written as if they were already accomplished, with an emotion added. If the goal is time sensitive set a date. Read your affirmations (goals) the first thing each morning and the last thing each night. Set goals that are achievable, reach them and then raise them. Do not analyze the “how”. Just clarify an exciting “why. —Boaz Rachwerger

In my work as a Vistage Chair and executive coach it has become apparent that those who set goals each year, write them out in a formal way, share them with other people who are important to them, review them regularly and make course corrections to stay on track simply achieve much more than people who do not.

This is not new. In fact nearly every business guru and author recommends goal setting. What does it hold for you?

A solid personal goal setting system is the key to effective time management and life planning. Setting personal goals wisely provides a sense of achievement, sustained motivation, a base for accountability and reduced stress. What other single activity that you can accomplish in a couple of hours provides that kind of return on investment?

Much is written about goal setting. A single keyword search on Google will reveal more than 62,000,000 articles. There are both personal and enterprise systems available from a variety of sources. Some are simple while some are ponderous.

Here are seven basic guidelines for effective goal setting.

  • Set both personal and professional goals so that you move toward life balance.

  • Make no more than 3 personal and 3 business goals to stay focused.

  • Make your goals achievable within a single calendar year.

  • Make your goals consistent with your personal mission or your business mission.

  • Define a review schedule as part of your goal setting procedure.

  • Only set measurable goals.

  • Keep it simple!

In my desire to keep it simple I have provided a worksheet (see the download link at the end of the article) for your use. It starts with a statement of the goal. There is not a lot of room in this section for good reason. Great goals can be stated in a single sentence. Examples,

I will gain ten pounds by December 31st while holding my body fat percentage to 16.5%.

I will book orders totaling $250,000.00 in revenue from new clients by June 30th.

Notice both have measureable metrics and deadlines.

Details follow:

Time Frame: this is simply dates for start, review and finish.

A Metric for measurement: This is always a number. Statements like: be a better person, read more books, lose some weight, grow my business are not metrics! No statements allowed without definitive numbers!

Specific action steps: Again the space is small and only three are stated. Most of us will avoid long lists of action steps because they look overwhelming. Or, we will choose the easiest from long lists ignoring priorities. Your goal may indeed require more than three. Here is my easy method to avoid becoming overwhelmed and stay focused on the highest priorities. Finish three steps and then set the next three. This works better anyway since we live in a dynamic world and changing conditions may render a long list useless.

Reward Section: This is a reward for you. Clearly if you increase the top line of your business life could be better. However, I am talking about something more than that. Here is an example. When this goal is accomplished I get the new Movado Museum wrist watch. When this goal is accomplished Patty and I will take a weekend at the Atlantis resort. That’s what I’m talkin about! You dream up your own. The reward can be big or little just make it worth the effort for you. It is the bit of “what’s in it for me” that often tips the balance and keeps you going when things get tough.

Good luck on your goals this year. More later on how to increase your performance. The goal sheet is attached. Let me know how it works for you. I’ve got to go now and review January performance against my own goals!

About the Author: Les Deck is an executive coach and Chairman of three Vistage International CEO Roundtables. Les puts his 4-decades of business experience and insight to work helping CEO’s achieve their goals—personal and professional. You can contact Les at