Breaking the Pattern of Failed Business Resolutions

Leadership Series

Missed quarterly sales quotas. Dropped responsibilities by overwhelmed staff and a lack of hiring. Irrelevant business budgets that by the end of the year are millions of dollars off the mark. Many businesses stare failed business aspirations in the face every year. With the new year coming in this week, most businesses will be busy next week setting new goals, plans, and budgets for 2015.   But they don’t have to fail like they did in 2014.

New Years’ resolutions can be made in your business that can be met. There are a number of things as a leader that you can do that will motivate your employees and senior staff, and we’ll cover those items in our next leadership series post. But when it comes down to the goals themselves, we use a simple acronym that is incredibly powerful:


Specific – Be sure that your goals are very specific. A generic objective like, “Grow revenues,” will likely yield disappointing results. But a specific goal related to growing recurring renewal revenues in the computer repair department is specific enough that it can be targeted and sought after—and you’ll know who to motivate and which levers to pull to push revenues.

Measurable – To get even more specific with our example, it is important that the goal be measurable. How will you know that you’ve reached your goal if there isn’t a quantifiable component involved? Try, “grow recurring revenues by 100% over 2013 year end numbers.” You’ll know when you’ve grown 2013 revenues by 100%.

Attainable – A goal is an empty one if you and your team doesn’t set a specific plan in place, with defined steps or milestones, that will carry you to your destination. You can attain your goal if you can see the clearly marked steps as guide posts along the way to achieving it. With our example, here might come some ancillary steps that involve smaller goal-oriented tasks to renew current customers, like customer surveys, customer referrals, or other customer retention-related activities that will likely yield more revenues.

Realistic – This is the reality check. If your company or division gets a healthy dose of reality in 2015, plans aren’t executed to complete perfection, or the entire marketplace doesn’t bend entirely to your whim, is your goal still possible? It can be very discouraging three months into the year if you already know you can’t meet your goal.

Timed – Timed or timely, be sure that there is a deadline with your goal, and that it isn’t so far into the future that you think you’ll procrastinate the steps you need to kick into action. To finalize our example, a good goal would be to set the revenue growth to 100% for the year, but to be on track to hit 25% of the revenue by the end of the first quarter—as long as the year’s revenues aren’t seasonal.

As the year progresses, evaluate your goals, reset, and make adjustments as necessary.