Hope is Not a Strategy. If You Want to Reach Your Goals, Here's a Much Better Option!
25 September, 2019
Have you ever heard the saying “Hope is not a strategy”? Well, as a business coach, I hear the “hope strategy” discussed frequently when I talk to owners or their managers about a how they're going to achieve their goals.
Here's how the conversation usually goes:
Owner: “Our goal is to (fill in the blank with goal).”
Me: “What are you going to do to achieve that goal?”
Owner: “Well, I hope that if we work really hard, and stay focused all year and maybe do a little of this and a little of that, we'll make that goal.”
Me: “Arrrgh!” That’s the sound of me pulling my hair out, because, really folks, the probability of success with “hope” alone as your strategy is reeeeeally low.
Here's what works better:
Your chances of reaching any goal are much higher if you create a step-by-step action plan that links the actions you're going to take to the results that you want to achieve.
If I were a betting man (which I'm not) I'd bet all my money that the owners who set clear goals and have action plans for how they’ll achieve those goals will make more progress and more money than those who rely on hope alone as a strategy.
Linking actions to results is a skill that you and your managers need to master.
Here's how you do it:
STEP 1. Clearly define the results that you want to achieve.
The first step is to clearly define what your goal is. I'm amazed at how many people skip this step. Without a clear goal, how will you know when to declare “Mission accomplished”? So, make your goal as specific and measurable as possible, with a clear time frame within which you want to achieve the goal.
For example, let's say that you want to offer a new service like pressure washing. Rather than say “I hope to introduce pressure washing this year”, a better goal would be to say, “My goal is to launch our new pressure washing service by March 31st and sell $50,000 in pressure washing services this year”
STEP 2. Define the major tasks that will need to complete to reach your goal
Now that you have your goal, define the major tasks that you will need to complete to reach the goal. For example, to launch your pressure washing service, here are some of major tasks that will need to be completed:
Create processes and procedures for doing the work,
Create a system to estimate the work,
Define and build the team.
Buy the necessary vehicles and equipment,
Update your website to highlight your new service,
Develop your marketing plan and launch your service.
STEP 3. Break the large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps.
Some of the tasks that I listed above may actually take several steps to complete. In these cases, it makes sense to break the tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps to ensure that everything necessary gets done. For example, some of the steps that you will need to take to update your website are: hire a web guy, rearrange the website to give more focus to pressure washing, get photos, and write web copy.
STEP 4. Schedule your project.
Define due dates for each task and sub-step. Without specific time frames and deadlines, the project may take significantly longer than you want, and some tasks may never get completed. If you need other people to participate to accomplish your goal, get their agreement and make sure that they schedule the necessary time to complete their part of the action plan.
STEP 5. Work your plan and don’t stop until it’s complete.
Once your plan is established, shared with the team and action steps are scheduled, the next step is simple: take daily action and follow up with responsible parties to ensure that everyone is doing their part.
Remember the project isn't done until the you achieve the results you defined in STEP 1.
Just because you completed all of the steps in your action plan doesn’t mean that you're done. You're not actually done until you get the results that you wanted.
Occasionally, circumstances or unforeseen events can arise that throw a wrench in your ability to meet deadlines, complete tasks and achieve your goal. If this happens, don’t get discouraged – revise your plan and continue working to meet targets and move forward. Change the date if you have to, but never give up on the goal.
Multiply your chances of success!
Stop relying on hope! Link the actions that you take to the results you want to create and I guarantee that with a well-designed plan and daily action, you and your team can achieve virtually any goal you set out to accomplish.
You can take that to the bank!
About the Author
Bill Silverman, a business consultant and owner of Springboard Business Coaching, works exclusively with contractors.