Hockenberry Management Consulting - Goal Setting Process

10 Steps to Achieve Your Greatest Goals

Throughout our lives, we’ve all heard things like “follow your dreams” and “do what you love.” But these approaches to life aren’t possible without setting and pursuing goals.

Even if we don’t realize that we’re setting goals for ourselves, we are. If our progress in life is partly determined by our ability to set and achieve goals, then why don’t we practice this skill more often? It’s probably because we don’t have an effective and reliable process to follow.

Given that, let’s break down the process of setting goals so we can better understand and pursue them.

Step 1: Write Down the Goal

What is it that you want to achieve? The first step in achieving any goal is to identify exactly what you want to accomplish, and then write it down.

Example: I’ll go on a river cruise in Europe next spring.

Step 2: Recognize the Rewards

Once you’ve articulated your goal, consider the rewards you’ll reap by achieving it. Rewards are all the positive things that will become a reality because you’ve reached your goal. These rewards may be related to your physical condition, personal relationships, work benefits, or mental health. Identifying all these rewards will help you mentally justify the importance of the goal, which means you’ll be more likely to do the work it takes to reach the finish line.

Example: I’ll get to relax, see new places, try new foods, and spend quality time with my partner.

Step 3: Consider the Consequences

On the flip side of rewards are consequences. Consequences are all the negative things you’ll experience if you don’t achieve your goal. These are the things that most people wish to avoid, so identifying them will help you realize the importance of the goal. After all, if you don’t achieve your goal, these are the consequences you’ll face.

Example: I’ll regret not going. I may not find a better time to go. I’ll miss an amazing opportunity to relax. I’ll disappoint my partner.

Step 4: Determine the Obstacles

The fourth step in goal setting is determining the obstacles you may have to overcome while you pursue your goal. These obstacles may be external (things you can’t control that come from the outside world). For example, the weather may be an obstacle for an outdoor event. These obstacles can also be internal (things that come from within you). For example, if you often struggle with motivation, that could be an obstacle!

Of all the goal-setting steps in this article, this one is arguably the most important. The more obstacles you identify, the more likely you’ll find ways to overcome them (in the next step), and the better chance you’ll have at reaching your goal. Even though this is one of the most valuable steps, it’s also the most skipped step in the goal-setting process. Why? Well, don’t we usually come up with a goal and immediately jump to how to get it done? Of course we do! This step takes us out of our regular routine of “getting right to it” and makes us pause to consider the challenges. So it’s not natural—and it might take some time to get comfortable thinking this way.

Example: There might be travel restrictions. The trip might be too expensive. I’m not very good at trip planning. I don’t know the river cruise provider options. I don’t have a passport.

Step 5: Brainstorm Possible Solutions

Now that we’ve identified the obstacles that could get in the way of achieving our goal, it’s time to brainstorm the possible solutions to those obstacles. Consider the solutions you could use to resolve the issues you could encounter.

Brainstorming should not be confused with decision-making. In this step, let your mind go wild and think of every possible solution to the obstacles you’ve identified. The more thoroughly you consider solutions, the more likely you’ll come up with brilliant ideas. Don’t just go with the first thing that comes to mind, since that will rarely be your best idea.

Example: I’ll learn how to get travel updates. I’ll save money. I’ll consider travel insurance. I’ll hire a travel agent. I’ll get help with the planning. I’ll get the proper travel documents.

Step 6: Articulate Action Steps

At this point in the goal-setting process, we finally arrive at planning action! It’s time to figure out what to do. We’ve identified what we want to achieve, why it’s important, what could get in our way, and how we could overcome those obstacles. Now, it’s time to decide what to do about it.

In this step, consider the actions you must complete to achieve your goal. Write out the action steps in a simple list that you can follow.

Example: I’ll research the latest travel restrictions. I’ll get travel insurance. I’ll save some of my paycheck every week as a vacation fund. I’ll ask my partner for help with planning. I’ll hire a travel agent. I’ll get a passport.

Step 7: Create a Timeline

To ensure you achieve your goal within an appropriate timeframe, it’s important to identify the due dates for each action item you listed in the previous step. If you must complete those action items in a particular order, this is the time to capture that and set deadlines accordingly. With a well-planned action step timeline, you can confidently achieve your goal within the timeframe you desire.

Example: I’ll immediately start saving some of my paycheck every week. I’ll ask my partner for help with planning by April 3. I’ll hire a travel agent by April 15. I’ll research the latest travel restrictions by May 20. I’ll get my passport by November 15. I’ll get travel insurance by December 5.

Step 8: Ask Others for Help

Many people feel like they’re alone in achieving their goals, but there are almost always people who can help you on your journey. If your goal is professional, you may be able to depend on colleagues or team members. If your goal is personal, perhaps you have a partner, close friend, or family member who can help. This help can come in the form of support, or it can involve delegation. If there are tasks on your action step list that others may be able to do, consider asking for help or delegating to them.

Example: I’ll ask my partner to get travel insurance and my travel agent to book the cruise.

Step 9: Identify a Completion Date

In this step, identify the date you’d like to complete your goal. For some goals, this deadline is given by your employer, or it may be a set date because of a scheduled event. For other goals, your target completion date could be completely determined by you. Choose a date that makes sense for you and your goal, then pursue your goal with that date in mind.

Example: I’ll complete my goal by next spring (the time of the cruise).

Step 10: Craft Affirmations

The final step in the goal-setting process is to craft affirming statements. Unfortunately, many people think this step is a little too “fluffy” and skip it. But science supports the idea of affirmations, and while they may feel uncomfortable or strange, they can be very beneficial.

An affirmation is a statement that you know to be true about yourself or various aspects of your goal, even in times of doubt. People tend to talk negatively to themselves, and affirmations give you space to speak positively instead. Tell yourself things that will increase your confidence and encourage you to pursue your goals, even when you don’t feel like it or you doubt yourself.

Example: I am a world traveler. I can be dedicated to saving money. I’m an exciting partner. I can successfully plan a trip.

By understanding and using an effective goal-setting process, we can set realistic goals and pursue them with confidence. While most of us were never taught these skills in clear and obvious ways, success awaits those who learn and apply this knowledge.

Happy goal setting! May you achieve many great successes.


Hockenberry Management Consulting - CELEBRATING 20 Years in Business!

Celebrating 20 Years in Business!

Hello Friends,

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the inception of Hockenberry Management Consulting. Time really does fly, especially when you’re having fun. We love what we do at HMC and are privileged to work with great clients, so we truly are having fun!

Some things remain the same even after two decades. In order to grow a business, organizational performance matters. For a business to perform effectively, a great plan must be executed well. You must have good people excited to go to work every day, along with efficient processes that deliver quality products and services. Creative marketing must align with your business objectives and sales goals, and meaningful customer relationships matter. These and other factors must be supported by great leadership, solid communications, a culture conducive to the growth plan, and a systems approach to the way things are done.

Some things have changed since 2001 when we started advising, coaching, and training business leaders. Thinking back, that’s the year George Bush became president, Bob the Builder debuted in the US, Shrek was released in theatres, Barry Bonds broke the single season homerun record, the US invaded Afghanistan, and China was granted normal trade status with the US. Billie Eilish was born that year, and we lost Dale Earnhardt, Chet Atkins, and George Harrison, along with Todd Beamer and some 3000 other innocent, brave Americans on a single, sunny day in early September.

Two things are certain; change happens and the world is not the same as it was 20 years ago. People, including customers and employees, are not the same either. They think and behave differently, and therefore interact with your company differently. Are we really back to “normal”, or even a “new normal”, during a time some refer to as “post-pandemic”?

If you own or manage a business (or nonprofit), your plan for growth must continually evolve, given ever-changing times in your part of the world.

If we can be of assistance to you or your friends in any way, please feel free to reach out. Let’s talk.

Finally and most importantly, as we reflect on the past and look forward to the future, we say a heartfelt “thank you” to our clients, partners, and friends for your support over the past 20 years.

Sincerely,
Jeff & Heather


Hockenberry Management Consulting - Confetti Clear

Kicking Off Our 20th Year in Business

Dear Friends,

As we kick off our 20th year at Hockenberry Management Consulting, I feel a great sense of gratitude. For the past 19 years, we have had the privilege of working with some of the most wonderful people in some of the best companies in the region.

To our clients…

We sincerely thank you for allowing us to play a part in your efforts to make improvements in your business and achieve growth. We’ve enjoyed working together and look forward to continuing this journey with you.

To our clients and colleagues who have recommended us…

Thank you for trusting us enough to refer your friends and acquaintances. It has been our pleasure to serve them and welcome them into our community of successful clients.

To friends we have not met yet…

Heather and I look forward to meeting you and working together to make improvements to grow your business.

While it’s fun to celebrate this important milestone, which lasts for only one day, I’m reminded that it’s what we do with the other 364 days that make it possible.

Wishing you much success with your 364.

Sincerely,

Jeff Hockenberry


Clarifying Thoughts on Leadership

Defining Leadership

A quick internet search for the definition of leadership will reveal that it means “the act of leading a group of people or an organization” or “the state or position of being a leader”.

So, what does that mean?

Practically speaking, we can think of leadership simply as the ability to get things done, either on your own or through the cooperation of others. This implies that a leader knows what needs to be done and is capable and willing to either do it or work with other people (subordinates, peers, superiors) who are capable and willing to get it done.

Leadership is Not Authority nor Management

This working definition does not reference authority nor management, i.e., a leader does not necessarily have to hold a position of authority or management within an organization. A leader may be someone who is able to get things done individually or collectively with others, while not having a management position or title. Conversely, a person having a title and position of authority within an organization may not be able to get things done either individually or collectively with others. This person may be in a leadership position, but their behaviors do not reflect those of a leader.

So, to be clear, leadership is not the same as…

  • Authority, which denotes having the right to make decisions, have control, give orders, and force others to comply with your commands.
  • Management, which denotes directing and controlling a group of people and operations, as well as other resources within an organization.

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Leadership Styles

We should not confuse the act of leadership with styles of leadership, or the way in which someone leads. While several styles have been identified, let’s consider three examples.

  • Some people in positions of leadership display an autocratic style where they assume they are smartest, know the most, and have the answers and therefore believe its best if people just do whatever they say without questioning decisions and instructions.
  • Some people prefer a democratic style where they get input from other people, asking for opinions, often generating a collection of ideas from which decisions are ultimately made and people know what to do.
  • Some people operate with a laissez-faire style where they may seem quite uninvolved, allowing employees considerable freedom to think and act on their own, without providing much direction.

It might be tempting to assume that leaders consciously choose a style and adopt it for themselves, but it’s probably more accurate to believe that the styles pick the leaders. In other words, leaders, being people, have certain values and beliefs that determine how they think, make decisions, behave, and treat others. So, people in leadership do what they do because they are who they are, and these style labels are ascribed to them by others.

Characteristics of Leaders

Likewise, we should not confuse the act of leadership with the characteristics of individual leaders. Consider this: Would you rather work with a person who is…

  • Honest or dishonest?
  • Kind or mean?
  • Generous or stingy?
  • Decisive or uncertain?
  • Humble or arrogant?
  • Knowledgeable or clueless?

This list of personal characteristics could go on and become quite long. However, it’s important to distinguish between these qualitative descriptors of individuals and leadership itself, which involves getting things done either individually or by working with others.

To be sure, styles of leadership and individual characteristics matter significantly and will have a bearing on the degree of success one may have in a leadership role, i.e., the degree to which a leader is able to accomplish goals and tasks through the cooperation of others.

Essentially, the success of a leader is supported by their personal style and individual characteristics, but they are not definitions of leadership nor measurements of that leader’s success.

The Value of Leadership

Of course, every business and nonprofit organization desires people on their management team to be good leaders, having the ability to get things done and influence others in a positive way to do the same, while managing their area of operational responsibility, along with other resources.

To appreciate the value of good leadership capabilities within the management team, just imagine a past personal experience, or perhaps a current one in your company, where a person with a management title or position of authority did/does not possess good leadership skills. Yes, most of us have had this experience and know how many problems can occur when this is the case.

On the other hand, imagine working for a leader who knows what needs to be done, communicates that effectively, shares the workload appropriately, provides encouragement and support as necessary, and then gives credit (fairly) for a job well done. This is a much more motivating scenario.

Effective Leadership Teams

So how do you build an effective leadership team within your organization? The answer depends on the situation, and every situation is unique. But here are a few thoughts that might be helpful as you consider this very important question.

It has been said that organizations rise and fall on their leadership. In other words, leaders affect everything within your company, including the planning, the people, the operations, the customers, the culture, etc. which means they affect the outcomes as well.

If you intend to fill a management position, or any other key position requiring leadership ability within your company, consider the following:

  • Leadership starts with a person. So, make sure there is a process for identifying and selecting people who already have the personal characteristics you desire in your leadership team. This means you get what you want, and they don’t have to become somebody they are not.
  • An individual’s personal characteristics will heavily influence their leadership style. So, make sure there is a process for identifying and selecting people who have demonstrated a leadership style that is consistent with your company’s values and culture.
  • Leadership involves the ability and willingness to get things done, either individually or by working with others. So, make sure the process includes a way to identify people who understand this, possess a track record for getting things done, influence and work well with others, and demonstrate the attitude necessary to be a member of your management team.
  • Even the best leaders need to continually learn and grow. So, make sure there is a solid training and development program for your leaders. This should include opportunities to increase knowledge (both job-specific and leadership knowledge), which is necessary to perform the job and lead effectively. It should also include opportunities for personal development, keeping in mind that leaders are people, and people must grow in order to remain vital to your organization and effective as leaders.
  • Focus on being the best leader you can possibly be, as you work to build an effective management team. Most managers desire to be effective leaders… and they want to be on a team with other good leaders… and most of all, they long to report to someone who is a great leader.

The subject of leadership deserves our focused attention because it’s foundational to organizational success, impacting every aspect of your business or nonprofit. The ability and willingness of leaders to get things done, while influencing others to do the same, affects how well your organization performs and grows. So, let’s take steps to equip our businesses with the types of leadership they need and give our employees the leaders they deserve.

For more information or help on this and other topics, contact our team.


Now is the Time…

A message from Jeff during the COVID-19 pandemic, April 2020…

Dear Clients & Colleagues,

Now is the time to focus on innovative business strategy and proactive marketing.

It has been a strange several week period for businesses and nonprofits alike, and much has been said about the importance of leadership during these challenging times. It is true that effective leadership is essential, given the need for re-evaluating situations and circumstances, making necessary adjustments, and then making things happen. Of course, leadership can only go so far without other people, processes and plans in place, not to mention customers who want to buy your products and services.

Many factors contribute to business performance and growth, but two areas of particular importance right now include strategic planning and proactive marketing, along with increasingly creative sales initiatives. If we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves merely reacting to overwhelming circumstances which appear to be beyond our control. And often times during a crisis, right when we must be most effective as leaders, it becomes most difficult to think strategically about growing a business. Further, when so much around us seems uncertain and sales are down, any attempts to proactively market the company and its products and services are often put on hold.

Actually, it is during such times that it’s most important to devise a solid business strategy and marketing plan, keeping in mind the need for both short- and long-term objectives. It might not be as easy as it would have been otherwise, but it is necessary. We can’t be like the proverbial ostrich and bury our heads in the sand until the scary thing goes away and it’s safe to come back out and continue operating as usual. It may not be “as usual” again for a long time, and maybe never will be.

Be encouraged though. Now is the time to take action by thinking strategically about how to improve key areas of performance, market more intentionally than ever, grow your business as much as possible under the circumstances, and become better positioned for future growth when the situation returns to “normal”, whatever that may look like and whenever that may be. Regardless of what it is and when it occurs, you and your company will be ready.

We’re here to help. Remember, initial phone consultations are always complimentary.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Sincerely,

Jeff