Every business needs to have CLEAR, MEASUREABLE GOALS for the year. Without targets, you have nothing to aim at. You have nothing to rally your Human Capital around. Nor can you celebrate success when you hit the target… because there wasn’t one!

Set goals that are not only clear for you, but also for your team. If you’re not good at goal-setting, or want help learning to “think big,” use one of our programs or call on our staff for guidance. Goals set the stage for the entire year, so it’s critical to do this step well.

Here’s a great example of how to handle — and how not to handle — the goal-setting process:

Let’s say you want to gross a million dollars a year — a typical goal for many Practices — which breaks down to roughly $83,000 per month. Then let’s say you only reach $60,000 by the end of January. As the leader of the business, the wrong way to handle this situation is to meet with the staff and report it was a bad month, and to point out you’re already way behind for the year. That approach to “inspiring” the team going into February won’t work!

The art of being a great leader is knowing how to reframe things to get the results you want. Instead of being negative, tell the team at the beginning of January that your goal is to do at least $100,000 each month. Let them know that if you make it as a team, you’re going to reward them with “x.” Use a positive strategy that includes fun, motivating incentives.

If you reach $100,000 in January, then go down a bit in February, but then go back up in March, you’ll still be on track. As long as you reach $100,000 most months, you should average out to at least $83,000 per month, and reach or exceed your million dollar goal for the year!

You’ll also realize there are great lessons to be learned from those months you fall short. Meet with the team and ask for their views about how the month went and why. Don’t take on all the responsibility yourself; share it with the staff. Get them to process the situation themselves and admit things like, “I realize I didn’t really get back up to speed after the holiday break until mid-January; I should have gotten started earlier.”

Then you should ask, “So what can we learn from that? What do we need to do differently next month? What’s our strategy for making up the shortfall?”

Human beings are capable of learning from their mistakes. Make it safe for people to make mistakes and admit to them. They will beat themselves up enough, so be disarming. Don’t void the meaningful lessons by teaching them never to admit to mistakes to avoid being yelled at. That doesn’t mean you don’t occasionally “call someone on the carpet” — as long as the rest of time you’re constantly building your people up and showing appreciation.

Commit to change your behavior in 2014, if necessary; make it the year you look for mistakes throughout the Practice, and actually have fun learning from them! In fact, be a positive person about everything that happens in the office. We know from interviewing clients and their teams that attend our Leadership Retreats that when the leader is negative, even really good teams that are getting good results get down on themselves.

A leader’s job is to make the team feel like they’re winning. Even if you haven’t yet achieved your ultimate goal, your people still need to feel like they’re on the right track and making progress. That’s winning! That’s what keeps them motivated to keep going!

Be a positive influence on everyone around you. Constantly apply learnings and move forward in a positive way. Keep approaching your goal until you master the process of constantly getting better which lets you set and go after ever-higher goals!