The SmartCompany Olympics Challenge – Shot put: One day, three goals

feature-shotput-b-200The Olympics is that time once every four years that we all get to obsess about sporting events we don’t usually pay any attention to.

The shot put is a prime example. Over the coming weeks, we are likely to be glued to our screens urging onwards Australia’s great hopes at throwing a 7.25 kilogram ball of metal as far as possible in a field of grass.

Our sole representative in London 2012 for the shot put is Dale Stevenson, and he will get three attempts to put the shot as far as possible. Here at SmartCompany we thought we could take some inspiration from Stevenson and try the SmartCompany Olympics Challenge in shot put: one day, three goals. The idea is to set yourself three tasks to complete by the end of the day. Get them done and you take gold.

Julie Parkinson, director of the Institute of Executive Coaching, told SmartCompany it is important for SMEs to think about the big picture when setting goals.

“The first thing I would do is to be incredibly clear on what I am trying to achieve in this financial year, so to write down the five top things that are critical to my success,” she says.

“That may be around revenue, it may be around customer targets or it may be around products and services, geography or innovation.”

According to Jon-Michail, chief executive and founder of Image Group International, the key is to consider why you are setting these goals.

“Most people want to know the how and what and they have not considered the why. Without the distinction, the what has no longevity and you will eventually give up,” he says.

“Money, power, status and influence are not actually goals. They are the rewards when the goals are achieved.”

Once you have identified your goals, Parkinson says the next step is to visualise them.

“The next thing is to say: What does success look like?

“I would picture myself at the end of 2013 and ask: What do my revenues look like? What does my customer mix look like? What does my office look like?”

She says asking these questions will give you a very clear picture of your goals and their visual representation.

According to her, the next question to ask yourself is who you will need to help you be successful in your goals.

“Have a very clear picture of who you need to communicate and engage with. It may be your board or your shareholders, your bank or your employees,” says Parkinson.

Both Parkinson and Michail advocate that any goals you set are SMART goals: specific, measurable, realistic and timely.

Once you’ve settled on your three goals, it’s time to write them down. Or you could even visually depict your goals.

“You can jot down visions of the future and what that looks like for you,” says Michail.

“You can then create a formal goal statement, a systematic action plan with time lines and also create a vision board.

“Goals are a lot more effective when they are translated from word into visual language.”

While Parkinson says each SME will have different goals, Michail suggests three guiding principles for these goals: “Follow your passion; deconstruct status quo thinking – be contrarian; and cashflow is not everything, it is the only thing.”

Now it’s time to go out and achieve them.

“When you use the word goal, put action with it, otherwise it is just theory,” Michail warns.

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