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Each January one exercise I conduct with the members of my CEO advisory boards focuses around goals.  What are the two to four most important goals they want to accomplish in the coming year?  Many times I make them pick two business goals and two personal goals because my intention for my members is for them to get to know each other as human beings and not just fellow CEOs.  The point being that knowing someone as a person connects the individuals at a different level than just knowing them in a role they perform, i.e. CEO.  You find out their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, what they have overcome to get where they are today.  Knowing someone at this level creates trust and trust allows a person to share things with others they may feel uncomfortable sharing.  This is the reason my advisory boards are the high performing teams they are and why important issues facing CEOs are discussed in our sacred confidential environment.

This year I am going to do something a little bit different…I am going to have each member identify a theme for the year.  What is it they want to focus on in 2014?  I am allowing them to choose either a business or personal focus, although I suspect the majority will pick a business theme.  This is an idea that was passed along to me by a colleague, Allison Tabor of Coppia Communications.

Then I will ask them to create two goals they will accomplish by mid-year that support the theme.  And each goal must be written as a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

If you are not familiar with this term the letters stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive.  You may find somewhat different words if you Google the term but they all have the same meaning.

Specific means just that, be specific, not general.  Goals such as “Grow revenues” or “Improve profitability” are not specific.  A goal of “Increase revenues $2 million over fiscal year-end by 6/30/14” is a specific goal.

Measurable says that anyone else can look at your goal on 6/30/14 and agree that you did or did not meet your milestone.  Sure, if your goal was “Grow revenues”, like the one above, and your revenues were $1,000 more then you met your goal BUT was this your intention?  Were you going to be satisfied with such a meager increase?  Goals should be “stretch” goals, not something you were going to achieve without extra effort.

Attainable suggests that the goal really is possible.  Don’t set a goal of “Doubling sales to $10 million by 6/30/14”, if this is highly unlikely.  Especially if you have never done it before in the history of your company.  For one, your leadership team may not by into your folly and everyone will be frustrated as it becomes evident that you will not make it.

Relevant signifies that it is a goal worthy of everyone’s attention.  After all, it is your management team that will be on point to achieve the goal so they must see it as important in moving the company forward.  In fact, it is important that goals are discussed by the team and not arbitrarily set by you; otherwise, there will not be any ownership in the goal.  Everyone’s hand print must be on the goal and the team must be committed whether they totally agree with the goal or not.

Time-sensitive denotes that there is a specific time for the goal to be achieved; otherwise there will be no urgency to achieving it.  This piece wraps up the other aspects above in that the goal can really be accomplished as written in a reasonable time period.

What do you think?  Would setting a theme for 2014 be something new and different for you?

Consider Reading This

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) by Timothy Ferriss.  Tried of your work/life imbalance?  Read how to live more and work less and run your business from anywhere in the world.