Set Good Goals and Build a Set of Behaviors Around Achieving Them

management mazeAs I wrote last week, PrideStaff brings our franchise strategic-partners together for an annual conference that focuses on education, training and growth strategies. We engage some of the world’s top speakers and business consultants to ensure each of our offices has the tools and information they need to be successful.

One of our speakers at this year’s conference is Mark Murphy. Murphy is the founder and CEO of Leadership IQ and has written several practical and insightful leadership books. His leadership techniques and research have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Inc., Forbes and several other prestigious publications. He has also appeared on ABC’s 20/20, CBS News, Fox Business News, CNN and NPR.

According to Mark, every staffing professional can achieve extraordinary things. His secret to success starts with setting goals that really stretch you – and test the very limits of your abilities. In fact, research supports this notion.

PREMIUM CONTENT: What drives use of contingent labor?

Mark’s company, Leadership IQ, studied nearly 5,000 workers from virtually every field. Here are two of the study’s key findings:

  • Extraordinary goals – the kind of goals that gave us nanotechnology and the iPod – stimulate and engage the brain in ways that are profoundly different than the goals most people set.
  • People who set HARD goals are up to 75 percent more fulfilled than people who set easy goals. HARD is an acronym for goals that are:

o    Heartfelt. We’re people – and we’re ruled by emotions. Logically, if you build a strong emotional connection to a goal, you’re more likely to achieve it.

o    Animated. Achieving your goal starts with visualizing it – literally imagining yourself accomplishing what you’ve set out to do. The more you replay your vision in your mind’s eye, the closer you will get to achieving your goal.

o    Required. Create a sense of urgency around your goal. When you work under a moderate amount of pressure to achieve something, it’s more likely to get done.

o    Difficult. The goals you set should stretch your abilities and move you outside your comfort zone. Set the bar high for yourself and don’t shy away from goals that seem out of reach.

Setting HARD goals activates your brain differently. It requires you to think and behave in new ways, so you can achieve new things. Here’s an example of how you could apply his concept to your staffing organization:

  1. Choose something within your staffing company that means something to you. Is there a tough account your team has been trying to land? Are you struggling recruit great talent in a certain job category that’s vital to your business? Select a challenge you’re emotionally connected to and set a concrete goal. It might be landing an initial order, or sourcing five potential candidates with specific skill sets.
  2. Imagine yourself going through the steps of achieving your goal. In your mind’s eye, walk yourself through the activities required to win that order. Visualize coaching your team for productive in-person visits, conducting competitive research, completing an RFP, or addressing the objections your prospect is likely to have. Most important, repeat the “movie” of achieving your goal over and over to yourself. Visualizing success will fuel successful behaviors.
  3. Get the ball rolling. Ask yourself, “What’s one thing I can do today to start working toward this goal?” Commit your goal to paper and tell your team about it. These behaviors will create accountability and turn “a nice idea” into “something that is really going to happen.”
  4. Up the ante. If getting an initial order is your goal, find a way to make it 20 percent more difficult than it currently is. You could increase the margin, increase the size of the order or shorten the time frame you’ve allowed for its completion. Stretch yourself and set the bar a bit higher.

Using HARD Goals to Become a Better Leader

Setting and achieving HARD goals will make you a better organizational leader in two distinct ways. If you’re looking to improve an aspect of your leadership abilities – anything from coaching to delegating to setting your company’s vision – HARD goals can help you develop in these areas. As long as you’re emotionally invested in the process and are willing to move outside your comfort zone, you can turn points of weakness into areas of strength.

Furthermore, your recruiters, account managers and support staff model their goal-setting behaviors after their own. The HARD goal model provides a concrete framework you can use to lead by example – and fuel your entire team’s success.

MORE: What I learned at the Executive Forum 


Tammi Heaton

Tammi Heaton
Tammi Heaton is COO of PrideStaff. She can be reached at theaton (at) pridestaff (dot) com.

Tammi Heaton

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