Goal Setting & Getting Things Done: Know Your Big Rocks
Join master business coach Michelle Landis, as she strives to create success and abundance for every business owner with the ActionCOACH method of focus, accountability, and results. Visit our weekly Q & A session as Coach Michelle tackles real questions on a variety of issues - and provides you with answers that will BRING RESULTS for your company!
Question of the Week: “I have been setting goals for my company, but it still seems like I can’t accomplish everything I need to - I am always behind! How do I get things done?“
Coach Michelle: The most important advice I can give you is to whole-heartedly invest in your planning time! It truly takes quite a bit of thought and preparation to arrive at goals that are 1) essential to business success; 2) tangible/achievable; and 3) measurable. It may require that you spend several weeks to a month of time collecting current data on your daily operations and record everything that you do in 15 minute segments. This will help you to discover what the essential goals will be for your company, where you spend the most time, and where improvements can be made to better manage time and arrive at goals effectively.
The effective achievement of goals relies specifically on how you manage your time. When I am feeling a bit overwhelmed myself, I like to reflect on a certain parable found in Stephen Covey’s book, “First Thing First.” Here is a summary of Covey’s little story about a time management consultant who is coaching a group of business students on setting goals:
The consultant placed a 1 gallon, wide mouthed mason jar on the table in the front of the room and filled it with a dozen or so fist-sized rocks, filling the jar to the rim. When he asked the students if the jar was full…they all agreed it was.
He then pulled out another bucket filled with gravel and dumped it into the jar and gave it a good shake so the gravel fell in the spaces between the rocks. Smiling, he asked again if the students thought the jar was full. The students were catching on and commented, “probably not.”
He reached under the table again and placed a bucket of sand next to the jar. He poured the sand into the jar and the sand filled the spaces between the rocks and gravel. So he asked again, “Is it full now?” The students agreed it wasn’t and waited to see what was next.
He then grabbed a pitcher of water and poured it in until the jar was filled to the brim. “Now it is full,” he said. “So what is my point?” After several answers along the lines of…if you really try, you can always do more… the consultant looked at the class and said a resounding “NO.”
“The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
Once you have completed a time study, you can identify what your company’s “Big Rocks” essentially are. Divide these Big Rock goals into business areas, such as Sales, Marketing, Delivery, Administrative, Customer Service, etc. It’s often the case that the area you chose to work on first should be the most difficult or that which you procrastinate over - especially if you have difficulty managing your time as a business owner. Make sure that you are defining goals with the S.M.A.R.T. method - which essentially stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented and Time sensitive.
Don’t worry about churning your wheels in the past or starting out with goals that aren’t achievable in the way that you’d hoped. Business is all about continuous positive change. Once you make a firm, conscious decision to get control of your time as a business owner, you will then be open and prepared to learn and institute the tools of effective time management. Just don’t forget to fill your jar with the Big Rocks first!
About the Author, Michelle Landis
Michelle is a certified Master Business Coach and owner of ActionCOACH of Greater Lehigh Valley/Berks. She is an educator and a business professional with over 25 years experience in the business world running both small and medium sized businesses. She has an extensive background in education, executive management, sales & marketing, operations and entrepreneurial pursuits that include international consulting in China, extensive teaching and educational endeavors as well as executive leadership roles with General Electric, Dun & Bradstreet and Armstrong World Industries. Her leadership skills have delivered over $58 million to the bottom line. Get a BUSINESS HEALTH CHECK with Michelle or connect with Michelle on FACEBOOK, join her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.