2020 is almost in the books and what a challenging year it has been! What we have heard and seen from the firms we talk to across the country is that it was a different year, but still a good year for most. If you want to continue on the momentum you have built up, it is imperative that your team know exactly what they should be doing next year. Goal setting can be a delicate process because you don’t want to set your goals too low and limit yourself, but also don’t want to set them too high which can hurt morale if you consistently are falling short.
Here are three things to consider when setting goals with your team:
Goal Collaboration - make sure to get your team members’ input on what they think the goals should be for themselves and the firm. Let them start the process by asking them to list out their goals, and then you can review them to ensure they are in alignment with your vision for the organization and add/adjust as necessary. Be prepared to discuss anything they share that is not in alignment at their review meeting.
- When setting the individual goals ensure you are using specific language such as:
- Become the primary point of contact for all AA clients by 3/31
- Become lead planner for Wilson’s, Smith’s, Brown’s, and Johnson’s by 6/30
- Complete EA designation by 12/31
- These are much more effective for most of your team members versus:
- Keep doing what you are doing
- Becoming a better Associate advisor
- Get the plans done quicker
Write Goals Down - there is a lot of empirical evidence that shows when goals are written down, they are more likely to be achieved. Take it one step further, write them down, and put them in one of your devices so they are constantly in front of you to remind you to stay focused. You could always go “old school” as well and print them off, laminate them, and tape them to your desk or screen.
- There are many tools other for this too such as the Traction 90 Day Rocks worksheet, but whatever you use, even if it is just a note in your phone, make sure the goals are framed as ‘Who, how, and by when.’
Aim High - there is also evidence that states that people aren’t sure what they can achieve, and tend to set the bar too low. This premise is essentially what the Strategic Coach and many other coaching programs are built around. Assisting entrepreneurs in achieving more by helping them take a step back from their business and challenging them to think bigger. This can be a tough line to walk though, because you can severely impact morale if the goals are so lofty no one comes close to achieving them. Consider setting 3 sets of goals: worst case, baseline, and best case.
- Baseline - set these first to have a starting point to work from. Maybe it is something like what you did last year plus another 10% (assuming you want to grow) in whatever metrics you are using: Revenue, new AUM, client growth, profit, etc.
- Worst case - think about what your goals would adjust to when the market drops, we have another pandemic or something else we can’t even imagine right now. Maybe this is 25% less than your baseline as a starting point.
- Best case - sometimes to referred to as stretch goals, and starting points can vary, but usually something in the ballpark of baseline plus 20%.
Be sure to celebrate your successes this year as well. Even if it didn’t seem like you had many, there is always something; maybe it is that you didn’t have to let anyone go, didn’t miss payroll, and/or didn’t lose any clients. And maybe you actually managed to find a path forward for growth despite the challenges. So reward yourself and your team for a job well done! Dan Sullivan has taught me to think big and never lose sight of where I want to go, but compare myself from where I started (Gain), not how far away I am from my ultimate destination (Gap).