Reasons Why Most Goals Are Not Achieved

By Phillip Chichoni

“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be. Your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.” — James Allen

I asked a number of colleagues that since we are now in the second quarter of 2017, how far are they from achieving their goals for the year. Sadly, but not surprisingly, over half of the respondents could not tell me the 10 most important goals they had set for the year.
Most could remember just a few from the top of their heads. It is no wonder that many people, including many in business, do not even bother to set yearly goals. A few months into the year, the hustles and bustles of life would have taken their minds off the goals.

Taking time to write down your goals may seem like a bother. However, having no clear goals will keep you in the same place you are now without progressing forward. It is like driving in an unfamiliar country without a map, where after making several turns, you find yourself back where you started.

Take time to write down your most important goals, at least 10 to start with. You can add more as you achieve some of the goals. You probably know that goals must be Smart, thus; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. However, in our fast changing, turbulent and more agile environment, Smart is not enough. To make sure you will achieve your goals in this environment, you have to know the most common reasons why many fail to achieve their goals.

Overarching goal not big enough

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first woman president, said, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” Everyone must have a big, all encompassing goal, what James Collins in his book Built to Last, called a B-hag or big, hairy, audacious goal. This is the long-term embracing goal, to which all your other goals will be pointing. If it is too small, it will not motivate and energise you and your team enough and you will soon get bored. When Jack Welch was at General Electric, he set the goal that all their companies must be number one or number two in all the markets they were operating in. During his 10-year tenure, the company’s value rose by 4 000%.

Goals not clear enough

Vague goals are like a vague map, with no clear names of roads, towns and distances. Achievable goals must be clearly defined, with specific and measurable targets, such as revenue, profit, sales volumes growth or number of employees. Write down your goals with clear metrics that you can measure so that you can track progress and correct course where necessary.

Not collaborative

You cannot achieve big goals on your own. Involve other people and organisations that can contribute to your success. Connect to as many relevant people and groups as possible so you can reach your goals faster. Ensure everyone in your team, that is your management and staff, are all buying into your goals. Your goals should encourage team work and collaboration.

Not reviewed regularly

Goals can be easily forgotten when pressure mounts, as what some people told me is the reason they have fallen behind in reaching their goals. Harvey Mackay said, “pale ink is much better than the sharpest memory.” Write down your goals clearly and review them with your team as often as possible in order to keep them fresh in everyone’s mind. Some review their main goals monthly or weekly. Placing them on walls or prominent areas may help remind everyone every day.

Not limited in duration and scope

Goals with no periods and scope will be difficult to track or measure. Set deadlines for all the specific goals. If the deadline is not met, then that problem needs to be solved. Scope as well needs to be specific and limited. Say you want to be the market leader in your industry, specify the products or services and identify the locations or areas meant, as obviously you cannot be everywhere or win in all products.

Not easily breakable

Large goals should be broken down into smaller goals so that they can be accomplished more easily and quicker for the long-term gain. If they are not broken down, they will seem unachievable and demoralise you and your team.

Not emotional

Today, people no longer work just for money. To get maximum co-operation, your goal must touch people emotionally. The old ways of motivating people by threats of punishment or reward are over. People will put their best efforts in a cause they believe in. Your goal should therefore make an emotional connection to your employees, tapping into their energy and passion.

If you want to achieve your goals and move ahead faster, take these seven reasons into mind.

Until next time, keep on accelerating your growth.

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