I always find leadership inspiration from elite athletes. With the Olympic and Paralympic games in our rear view mirror, I recognized once again how we, as business owners, can learn from these fabulous athletes to achieve our own business success. There are so many similarities between the success achieved in business, sport and life. In my last article, I wrote about setbacks and how to learn from them. This article focuses on two factors necessary to move you forward.
1. Know What You Want
If I asked you to specifically tell me what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them, could you easily answer me? Can you show me your top 3 strategic goals for your business and how you will measure your progress? If your answer is ‘no’, sadly you are not alone. Here’s a story that may resonate with you.
One client (Jill) I was working with told me, “I don’t have specific goals because I’m undertaking a lot of changes in my business and I want to get things stabilized first.” This puzzled me, so I asked, “will you ever have a business that is not changing?” “Yes” Jill responded, “when I have my new systems set in place.” “How do you know what systems to set up if you aren’t clear on what you want to do and what you want to aim for?”, I asked. At that point, the penny dropped! “I don’t know” responded Jill with a nervous giggle.
I share this story because if you want to achieve business success, you need to know what it is you want to achieve. Can you see it and describe it to others? If not, you have more work to do.
2. Set the Bar High
How high do you set your personal and business goals?
Stretch goals are commonly referred to in the business world as a way to achieve more. Stretch goals require you to ambitiously extend yourself beyond what seems realistic within your current self imposed limitations. In his blog, Jon Miller wrote about the conflict between stretch goals and smart goals. Here is the acronym he presented to explain how the two fit together:
“S = SMART goals that
T = teach an organization how to
R = reach higher levels of performance by
E = engaging everyone in
T = testing hypotheses through
C = cross-functional cooperation
H = in a humane fashion.”
Setting the bar high should be reflected in your performance as well. For an Olympian, they set their sights on a medal and work toward that goal. If they only set their sights on doing their best, they aren’t forced to keep “upping” their game. Mindset comes into play when you have to stretch further for success.
Is the quality of the product you offer your customers reflective of your standards? Continuous quality improvement will occur when you continually reassess current systems, standards and outcomes and then set the bar higher. Rejig to keep things current, and to maintain quality and performance — it also keeps life challenging and interesting!
Elevating operations, goals, expectations and deliverables takes planning and dedicated effort. Be accountable to yourself and your dreams!
I challenge you to raise the bar in business and your own life and reap the rewards that follow.