A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish

"A goal without a plan is just a wish," is something Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said a long time ago.  But, goals and plans were top of mind this past weekend. 

When 2013 started, I set a goal of running in 30 5K races during the year.  Because of good weather on most weekends, minimal injury setbacks, and a lot of races to select from in the Kansas City area each weekend, I reached my goal in October of that year.

I would not have reached my goal without also having a plan in place of how I would train, schedule runs, and adjust for setbacks and unforeseen challenges.

Also last year, my then 49-year-old sister-in-law set a goal to run her first-ever 10K race.  She embarked on an even more specific plan by following a strict, time-tested, eight-week training plan to take her from couch to fully prepared to run her first 10K.  She reached her goal and then ran a second 10K a few weeks afterward.  I am so proud of her.

The same day I finished my 30th 5K race, a proud fellow racer shared with me that he had just completed his first-ever 5K, having spent the past year losing 40 pounds and setting a goal to complete a 5K by the fall of 2013.  He was on cloud nine, and rightly so.

These three experiences reminded me of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's wise statement about the importance of plans to reach goals.

Too often, businesses don't have clearly defined goals and even less often specific plans to reach those goals.

When you set a goal for your business, be sure it is:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-related
Share that goal with your employees, so they understand all of the five attributes of the goal.

And then for your plan (sometimes called "program"), keep these tips in mind:
  • Realistically assess the obstacles and resources involved and then create a strategy for navigating that reality.  For me this year, that meant adjusting my race schedule this summer to accommodate a nagging hamstring injury.
  • Plan for more than just willpower.  Instead, plan by taking into consideration your business environment, your employees' schedules and workload, and everyone's accountability so that all these factors will work together to support you to achieve your goal.


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