Goal Setting is Important – Buy In is Essential

At this time of the year most of us have spent some significant time reviewing our past performance and carefully planing for the future.

Goal setting is usually the capstone of this process.  Our hope is that the goals we set provide a meaningful and vivid picture of specific check points and milestones we need to reach and achieve to obtain our ultimate success.

However, without the emotional buy in and adoption of the goals by every member of your team, obstacles and distractions can cloud the vision and these same goals can get lost or worse act as a significant barrier to your ultimate success.

Like most of us, I learned to set goals using then SMART acronym.

■ S for Specific: Has the goal clearly defined what needs to be achieved? 

■ M for Measurable: Goals are most effective when they describe an outcome that can be measured   

 A for Actionable/Achievable: Does the goal have a clear pathway for action that is controllable? 

 R for Relevant: Is the goal relevant to your overall objectives? 

■ T for Time bound: Within what timeframe will the goal be achieved? 

A few years back I discovered a new way of framing goals coined by Mark Murphy of Leadership IQ as HARD goals.  This approach causes us to dig just a little deeper for not only the tangible evidence of the goal progress but also the why behind the importance of having the goal at all. Take a look and see how your goals would measure up to this scale.

■ H for Heartfelt: Do you have an emotional attachment to the goal? Does it move you toward a desired future or help you prevent an undesirable one? The stronger your attachment or ‘sense of heart’ for the goal, the more likely you’ll be to pursue it.

■  A for Animated: This is about visualizing the goal. The form this might take is putting up ‘mood boards’ on the wall to help you see how the world would look if you achieved this goal.  Or, simply closing your eyes for a moment and picturing how your life would be different once the goal was achieved.  Being ‘animated’ is about ‘connecting with the goal’ in a deep way. The more we are able to create a strong picture of life as though the goal has been achieved, the more magnetic that future will become for us…and the more we’ll want to work toward the goal.

■ R for Required: Is the goal absolutely necessary for your own or your company’s success? For example, if you run an eCommerce website and online sales are low, a goal to increase online sales would be a high requirement.

■  D for Difficult: We all love a challenge, don’t we?  Goals that require us to learn new skills and expand ourselves are an inspiration.  To succeed with this criterion the goal needs to be sufficiently difficult to move us from our comfort zone.

Personally I feel both the SMART and HARD goal approach have value and serve a purpose.  I like the simplicity of SMART goals and the speed with which this method can be used. And, I like the way HARD goals encourage us to create the feeling and emotion associated with our goals, so we can connect with them in a way that fuels adoption and motivation.

The simple question everyone involved needs to be able to answer is:  How do you want to feel when this goal is achieved? When you can answer this question you have the foundation from which you can ensure buy in and overcome the inevitable obstacles that life and business throw your way.

Will Nowell is the President of Peak Performance MS.  Peak Performance Marketing Services is a premier provider of Marketing Services and Automation, Mystery Shopping and Sales Skills Training.  Will is the author of the best selling book, ValueMatch Selling.

Will frequently share ideas on sales and marketing related topics. If you are interested you can check out his website, www.Peak or reach out to will at or call Will directly at :(602)-284-0124

William Nowell

by William Nowell