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How to Avoid an Own Goal

Here's an exercise for you if you're leading or running a business.

Before you read the rest of this article, ask three of your colleagues what the goals of the business are for this year.

Done it? Ok. Now here’s some questions for you to answer:

1. Did everyone say the same thing or were their answers wildly different?

2. Did anyone struggle to answer you?

3. Did any of them give you the right answer?

This exercise should spark some thoughts and maybe a realisation or two. If the goals you set aren't commonly understood throughout your organisation then they only belong to you. And own goals aren't the kind of goals that make a successful business.

And own goals aren't the kind of goals that make a successful business.

Goals are pointless if they’re not commonly understood

You may have spent days working with your executive team to agree the strategic, mid-term and immediate goals of the business but if you’ve failed to share them properly, you’re never going to achieve them. At incredibleresults we’re big fans of John P. Kotter’s “Why Transformation Efforts Fail” - central to his theory is the fact that businesses who manage transformation efforts successfully do so because they communicate effectively.

If your team doesn’t understand the goals – you are accountable

Failure by teams or individuals to understand your business goals might be frustrating to you, but instead of blaming them for lack of knowledge, you need to get out there and spread the message. Communicating goals goes way beyond a company meeting or corporate email; it requires consistent communication via every channel that you have. If you want the company goals to be your team’s priority, you’re responsible for keeping them at the front of everyone’s mind.

Ways to create buy in

Part of the process of creating the right level of commitment is about how you treat your team. Here’s a few quick tips:

1. Demonstrate you trust your team by sharing an accurate view of the organisation’s opportunities and problems.

2. Explain why the goals are fundamental to the success of the business, what success for the business will mean for them as individuals, and the risk to the business if the goals are not met.

3. Systematically plan for, and create, short term wins. Communicate in advance the steps along the path to the long term goals and make sure you celebrate them.

4. Plan in regular check-in points. These are not casual 1:1’s – this is about commitment to success so make it focused and upbeat – your enthusiasm and motivation levels will rub off on your team.

People power

With your goals in place and effectively communicated, you can really align your people. Regular check-ins will help you keep an eye on commitment levels and establish who is going to get you there, who needs a little help, and who might need to look elsewhere. Our 3x3 Sales Team Assessment Model offers a great framework by which to take a look at your team and make some rational decisions (if you want to talk about this in more detail, get in touch).

Are the right people doing the right things?

It’s easy to look busy, but are your team doing the right things? With clear goals in place, you can get super focused on the detail of what you’re asking your people to do. People should feel empowered to turn down non-essential activities, able to question requests and open to being asked how they are prioritising their time.

Your best ever year

At incredibleresults, we believe that aligning your goals, people and activities is one of the single most effective things you can do to make your next 12 months your best ever. If you want to take on the challenge of making the next 12 months incredible for your business and avoid an own goal, get in touch with the team at

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