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An executive friend of mine who is a high-performer laser-focused on goal achievement was recently given a seemingly impossible goal by her Board of Directors. She’s a high-level executive in a multinational organization. For her, nothing seems impossible. Based on her results, thus far nothing has been.

This felt different.

She knew that in order to succeed she would have to also give seemingly impossible goals to her teams. She’d also have to provide the leadership necessary to help them succeed. And, it was critically important to her that she do that without adding stress and anxiety to her teams.

She called me with a simple—yet incredibly smart—request. She wanted me to walk her through the basics of goal achievement, just like I’d done with her over 10 years ago. Not that she didn’t remember the process, in fact, it has become automatic for her. But she said, slowing down and going back to basics was the only way she could achieve what was now in front of her.

We took an hour to go through the step-by-step journey back to the way she’d always accomplished things in the past— exceptional goal setting.

Step One: CLARITY – Write them down.

This one should be a no-brainer, but facts say otherwise. According to research, only about 8% of people set goals. And of that 8% only 3% write them down, and they (the 3%) are 3 times more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t write them down.

To make it easier, I suggest my clients have one place to write down all of their goals as they think of them. Making a master list of goals gets them out of your head and onto the page. This brings clarity and helps to stay organized.

Step Two: AUTHENTICITY – Check in with core values

We are more successful when the goals we set are in alignment with our personal core values. Sometimes this can be challenging when we’re a leader setting goals for our teams. We have to know the people involved, what they care about, and what motivates them. Then we will be able to help them make the connection between achieving important work goals and honoring personal core values. Leaders who inspire understand that this is vital.

Step Three: RESPONSIBILITY – Set milestones

Milestones serve as wins along the way. They help us to get motivated, stay on track, and keep our focus. I suggest setting three to four milestones for a large goal. Naturally, each milestone takes us one step closer to the ultimate goal achievement. However, they also serve as moments to celebrate, to mark a “W” in our column, and to give us the boost we need to keep working towards our goals.

Step Four: ENGAGE – Baby steps are the key to success

Unmanageable projects feel easier when they’re broken into baby steps. Help your teams take control of the process by encouraging—not micromanaging—them to create tasks and steps that can be achieved each day. Micromanaging isn’t effective, and it’s detrimental to your whole team. If you struggle with micromanaging, simply ask them to share their tasks and steps with you for the week and have a short meeting to discuss what can be added or adjusted.

Step Five: ACHIEVE – Schedule time on your calendar

This is the most important of all the steps. When something is on a task list, that’s great. When something is planned and scheduled on our calendar we make the time for it. It is when we make a personal commitment to getting things done. And it’s human nature to want to honor our commitments, even if it’s a commitment to ourselves.

After working through this with my friend, she smiled. She said she’s been doing these steps for so long now that she doesn’t even think about it anymore. That’s why she wanted the reminder. Because now she has to walk her team through the steps. She knows that her chances of accomplishing her goals are increased by the chances of her team accomplishing theirs. Using this process gives her much better odds!

It turns out that most of us do have good intentions when it comes to setting both personal and professional goals. More often than not we get sidetracked, putting out fires, and getting pulled in a million directions. Staying focused on our goals can be challenging.

IF IT WOULD BE USEFUL TO YOU, MY TEAM, AND I…That’s why my team and I created this *FREE TOOL* CARE to Achieve, the Goal Setting Dashboard where high performers define, track, and achieve even their most daunting goals. It’s powerful, robust, and best of all— it works! Just follow each step and video instructions included, and before you know it, you’ll be accomplishing more, in less time, and with less stress than you ever thought possible.

Click the link and download your Free Tool, CARE to Achieve to begin achieving more starting today!

NOTE: This tool is designed to be used with EXCEL.