Reality Goal Setting

Set your goals high! Go for the moon! Make huge resolutions this year!

Hogwash. That theory is ineffective and leads to nothing but frustration and depression. Forget about pie-in-the-sky goal-setting myths that are based more on a rah-rah motivational speaker trying to sell more tapes than helping you to achieve. Instead, let’s focus on real achievement and look at a concrete system that can help you bill more this year than you ever have before. We’d like to think we can hit home runs every time at bat, but remember that it was the tortoise and not the hare who won the race.

Consider this simple and effective system of goal-setting this year:

1) First, let’s get real. You probably won’t be tripling your income this year. You could, and you might be able to, but let’s be realistic. Here’s a solution that offers a solid dose of reality with an opportunity for a few home runs in the game. Set three separate goals for yourself. Set a gold, silver, and bronze goal regarding your billings. If last year was an average year for you, a bronze goal might be twenty percent more billings than last year’s number. If you believe that the market negatively influenced your billings, and you believe that positive economic forces may contribute to a better year for you, then twenty percent plus another digit or two might be more appropriate. Silver and Gold achievement targets would consist of anything that is realistic to a degree, but would require much more intensity of focus, better habits, and strategic marketing. Perhaps a silver goal might be thirty percent more than last year. A Gold goal might be forty percent more.

2) Set those three target numbers in place, and create a “thermometer measure” which is sort of like the ones you see for United Way fundraisers. Have each goal listed on the thermometer, and each time you close a deal, color in red ink the rising ‘temperature’ as it reaches your goals. Keep this visible all the time. Tape it on the side of your monitor. Put it on your dry-erase board or in a place where you see it all the time. This gives you a visual representation of what you have achieved and how much farther you need to go.

3) Figure out and focus on your ratios. Interview to placement ratios. Candidate presentation to interview ratios. How many candidates does it take for you to get an interview? How many interviews need to take place to close a deal? Remember, anything that can be measured can be improved, so start focusing on how you can improve on these ratios over the course of the year.

4) Focus on monthly goals and forget about everything else. Setting six month and ninety day goals is a waste of time and a distraction. Let’s just admit this and use it to our advantage. We’re recruiters for crying out loud. Not scientists. Make it easy and focus on the actions of achievement on a monthly basis rather than a complex system. So at the beginning of each month, ask yourself this question: “What are the two or three most important things I must accomplish this month?”

5) Ask yourself that same question at the beginning of the week. Do this when you have some quiet time for yourself. Consider your monthly targets as you set your weekly goals. This could be setting up five interviews this week, or consistently talking with thirty new prospects each day. Other achievement goals might be to limit the time it takes for you to make your first phone call of the day from forty minutes to four minutes. Shake it up and make it fun because if it’s fun, you’ll be more inclined to hit your targets.

6) Get away from material rewards because they don’t work. Real motivation is intrinsic. It comes from within. Don’t use material rewards to motivate yourself because you won’t be motivated. Instead, use them to create the future and emotionalize that future. Get all of your senses involved. Imagine what your lifestyle will be like when you hit your targets. Paint the picture of what life will be like when you hit your gold goal for the year. But understand that this won’t really motivate you. Real motivation is what Abraham Maslow called ‘self actualization.’ Maslow was a psychologist and management consultant who created the famous “hierarchy of needs” in the sixties. We have five categories of needs starting with our need for safety, food, clothing, water, and ending up with self actualization. It is in this state of self actualization that we are internally compelled to be and achieve our best, to create the type of life that we long for, to create relationships that fulfill us instead of adding disharmony. It is in this state that we do not rely on fancy cars or seven hundred dollar suits with fancy french cuffs or reminiscent days of when we were big billers to create a fleeting and futile sense of satisfaction to fill the void of emptiness, falsely thinking that our significance is derived from what others think of us. You are not what you bill. Instead, we are motivated because we want to achieve our best because we see ourselves as an achiever in all that we do. It really has nothing to do with money or billings. We bill because we contribute to the lives of others. Our significance is tied not to our production but to knowing that we come from a Creator who made us in his image, and that is all that really counts. We were designed for achievement. We are called to live a life of abundance. We give and give because of the joy it brings us and know that it will abundantly be returned. It is because of these universal principles that we bill not for material reward but to contribute to the lives of our clients and candidates. With this sort of thinking, you will become very, very wealthy. Cha-ching, baby.

7) Read Rick Pitino’s book called “Success is a Choice.” If you struggle with feeling like you don’t deserve to win, read that book. Also Ken Christian’s book “Your Own Worst Enemy: Overcoming the Habits of Adult Underachievement.” There is no silver bullet to boost your staff’s motivation. If anything, it is a very slow-moving bitter pill. But start everyday to read books like this and you and your colleagues will see an increase in your focus and energy at work.

8) Consider setting up categories of other goals not related to your desk. In addition to your business goals, set goals for this year in each of the following categories:

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family goals

recreational goals

financial goals

spiritual goals

physical fitness goals

Remember that wheels which are out of balance cause other problems in your car. It’s the same way in your life. Keep focused, live a balanced life, and watch your billings skyrocket this year.

Copyright – 2004 Scott Love

Scott Love increases company profit margins by working as a management consultant, author, and professional speaker with special emphasis in the executive search and staffing industries. He has been quoted in major city newspapers, national trade magazines, international business magazines, and the Wall Street Journal. He has his own weekly business column in the Gannett News Service. His free website for recruiters has over 50 free tips and tools to help you bill more. www.recruitingmastery.com.

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