BY: Brian Sullivan

You may have heard the saying, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  This is not just a mantra for those with wanderlust.  It is a powerfully simple statement about the importance of vision and goal setting.

Vision helps pave the road in the direction you want to go.  Goals are the mile markers that help measure your progress.

Goals give you something to work towards and something to measure both personal and professional success.  A simple concept no doubt but there is both an art and a science to creating a vision and setting goals.

The science to setting a vision comes in the consideration of your strengths relative to your competition and establishing what place you can own in the minds of your consumers.  Communicating your vision is an art.  You have to paint a clear and compelling picture of your vision so all those that will help you get there know where you want to go and maybe even why.

The science to goal setting comes in the quantitative or qualitative measures used when setting your goals.  This usually involves almost every aspect of your business working together to establish where you want to go and likely how you are going to get there.  Here you have long term and short term goals with the timeframes relative to you business cycles i.e. quarterly and annual or weekly and monthly.

These goals can seem overwhelming not just because of their size but because of the relative long term nature of most of them.  The art to goal setting comes in establishing check in periods with goals specifically for these periods.  These can be more qualitative measures but should be on the same continuum as the overall goal.  I think this is a critical step because it gives people something to work towards in the interim and the opportunity to celebrate successes along the way.  These successes can improve employee morale and give them a greater sense of investment in the overall goals.  If there aren’t successes at the check in times, you have the opportunity to adjust giving you a better chance at achieving the overall goal.

This logic applies both to overall business planning as well as marketing plans that support the business plan.  For example, in our work, we start with a shared vision for the brand created by members of our team and the client.  This vision supports the business goals of the organization.  We then agree on goals and metrics we will use to measure the success of each campaign.  Armed with clear goals, we monitor (or check in on) our campaigns on a daily basis.  This gives us the opportunity to adjust spending or messaging during the campaign as well as make adjustments for the next flight.  It gives our staff a great sense of investment and the opportunity to share in both realizing successes and sharing those with the client.

So, unless you are happy wandering, pave your road.

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