Hitting Your Goals

Hitting Your Goals

By Laura Laaman

It’s that time of the year; most of us have created our New Year’s Resolutions… and unfortunately, many have already altered them, or forgotten them altogether. Many times, these resolutions were designed to make us more successful, healthier or happier. While they may prove to be a challenge, don’t give up! After all, resolutions are meant to improve your situation. Who wouldn’t want that?

Since many resolutions are work-centered, let’s think about your work situation. Clearly, you’re an individual, but you’re also part of a critical team that your customers have entrusted to take exceptional care of their pets. You already know that by owning and operating a people-dependent business, it’s impossible for you to hit your goals without mobilizing your team. But how do you mobilize your employees to do what you need them to do?

If you were teaching school children, you could simply tell them what to do, show them how to do it, and expect them to start producing results. However, mobilizing adults— even young adults— requires a very different approach. You can’t just dictate your requirements to employees and expect them to cheerfully agree with your direction. As you move forward with leading your team, here are three important steps to make your goals a reality.

1) Create Understanding

The process of creating understanding means providing clear information on what you want done and, ideally, why it’s important. For example, if you have determined your company is not answering a high enough percentage of incoming calls, don’t just tell them they need to answer the phone more often.

Instead, explain to your team what you’ve discovered and why answering these calls (in a friendly and professional manner) is so important to your company’s success.

Adults want to understand what the mission is and what role they play and as their leader, it’s in everyone’s best interests to take the time to explain these goals.

Quantifying and qualifying are important strategies to successfully setting goals. Qualification is describing. Quantification includes a measurement of some type (units, weight, time, etc.). So in the case of the missed phone calls; qualifying would be to say “We’ve missed a lot of client calls recently.” Quantifying would be “We’ve missed a total of 35 client calls in the past two weeks.”

2) Provide Goals

The human mind is like a missile. Give it a target, apply sufficient energy, and you will likely hit your mark. Many people don’t understand the value and importance of goal setting. Nor do they take the time to utilize goals to propel their own or their team’s success. Don’t let this be you. Utilize goals properly and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much progress you make.

If you want to be highly successful and run a profitable business—or achieve anything exceptional—setting reasonable goals is an important step in propelling your business toward success!

Goals are a charting device. They let you know where you are going and how you are doing. However, poorly defined goals are not going to result in success. They simply waste time and create frustration. Therefore, goals must be challenging yet realistic, written down, visualized, and have a reward tied to them.

Let’s break this last sentence down a little more:

Challenging — Adapting new behaviors will be challenging for your staff. We are creatures of habit, and challenging your team will ask them to ‘think outside the box.’

Realistic — Asking your team to answer 100% of calls isn’t realistic. However, targeting a decrease of 50% of unanswered calls to 20% is realistic. This is, of course, assuming you have enough staffing coverage.

Written down — Putting your goals in black and white is a tangible action and reduces confusion. It holds your team accountable—and you, as their leader, accountable as well. This action is designed to keep you and your team on task.

Visualized — Since most people are visually orientated (we learn and retrain better when we see something), the power of realizing and obtaining your goals is in direct proportion to visualization of our goals.

Reward — Create a reward system. I’m not suggesting you buy anything extravagant here to entice a certain type of behavior. It’s unnecessary and often only a temporary temptation and won’t result in permanent change. However, make the reward something fun. And remember, you’re going to make money from doing this. The reward will be much less than the upside of what you gain by your team working toward that new goal.

Contests will help you turn your goals into reality for your team, incorporating visualization and a reward.

3) Contests

Contests are a great way to mobilize and incent your team into performing new behaviors. When set up properly, sales contests should not “cost” the company a dime. Quite the contrary; when done properly, they will make you money.

Contests can help promote important behaviors and increase employee morale. They can also keep employees motivated by promoting healthy competition. Let’s go back to the goal of reducing the frequency of unanswered phone calls. An example of a contest goal for your team would be to reduce the percentage of unanswered calls. The contest would be to reduce the 50% of missed calls (as measured in the pre-contest period) by, let’s say, 10%.

What’s an appropriate reward? Something fun and reasonable that your team wouldn’t go get themselves. Maybe it’s a new coffee or cappuccino machine, a special team lunch, or gift cards.

As you can see, the return on investment is huge for the company. You only pay out $100 or $200 for the reward, once you have improved performance. Yet, the new behavior – answering the phone more often – is more ingrained in their daily tasks.

Displaying colorful, fun visuals such as posters is a great way to provide reminders of the new desired behaviors. Try to display them in an area that is highly trafficked by employees, not clients.

Three keys to successful contests are keeping them short, simple, and self-monitored. Short means generally no longer than a month. Sometimes a day or a week is enough to start shaping a new behavior. Simple means if you do ‘X,’ you get ‘Y.’ Finally, self-monitored means the individual or team is responsible for monitoring their own performance. This way, you don’t become the bookkeeper of the task. They’re adults; they can keep track of the progress. If they don’t, they don’t get the reward.

Learning how to be a great goal setter and contest coordinator will help you turn your wishes into reality and make your business a more profitable one.

Laura Laaman is president of Outstanding Pet Care. OPC helps some of the most successful pet care facilities thrive in highly competitive markets and GUARANTEES THEIR CLIENT’S SUCCESS! If you would like to receive a complementary phone evaluation, contact the OPC team at www.OutstandingPetCare.com or call 1-888-735-5667.

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