How do some people keep making progress in their business or in their career while others just seem to spin their wheels?
Perhaps it’s because of who they know. Maybe it’s because they have set clearly identified goals. But does that really matter?
A 1979 Harvard Study on Harvard MBA graduates put this question to the test. The findings were as follows:
The researchers surveyed each student, placing them into three groups based on their answer to the following question, “Have you set written goals and created a plan for their attainment?”
The first group, which represented a vast majority of the graduates at 84%, consisted of those students who had no set goals established.
The second group represented 13% of the graduates and consisted of students who had some goals, figuratively, but hadn’t written them down.
The third group represented just 3% of the graduates and consisted of those students who had clearly defined, written out goals.
Ten years later the researchers surveyed the students who had set goals and the results were surprising.
The 13% of students who had some goals, but hadn’t written them down, were earning an average of two times the amount that the 83% of graduates who had set no goals.
Even more impressive, the 3% of graduates who not only set goals but set well-defined goals, were earning a whopping ten times as much of the entire 97% of their graduating class.
Bottom line, yes, goals matter, but taking it to the next level and creating well-defined goals is where you can really set yourself up for success to achieve the desired result. To help get you started, follow these three crucial steps to achieve your goals:
1) Be SMART. Establish a SMART goal, which is a goal that is:
Specific: highly-defined, clear, and unambiguous
Measurable: contains specific criteria to enable benchmarking & progress measurement
Achievable: Challenging yet still attainable
Realistic: Reasonable and relevant to your purpose
Time-Bound: Includes a clearly defined timeline, with a start date and a target date to create urgency.
2) Practice Self-Deception. German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said it best, “The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.” When a visionary believes in something, even if that something is nearly impossible, they will routinely lie to themselves and ignore those who say their goal is unachievable in their quest for achievement. The result has proven time and time again that those who are successful have a healthy dose of self-deception. A
3) Take Action & Set Accountability. For each set goal, write out 3 action items to assist you in achievement consisting of specific and detailed tasks. Use action verbs such as complete, create, talk or meet paired with targeted completion dates as well as a final date for all tasks to be completed. Establish an accountability partner, whether that is a peer, a supervisor or a
Lastly, be mindful that when you don’t determine where you want your business or career to go, you allow yourself to be at the mercy of the circumstances at hand. Take twenty minutes today to set your goals and begin to take control of your future success.