Setting Goals in Business, Baseball, and Life

Every successful person I’ve ever met has been a goal setter. Setting goals gives an individual a sense of purpose and a sense of direction at the same time. A baseball player, for example, must know how to distinguish between appropriate goals and inappropriate goals. Furthermore, he should know that what others expect of him has no place on his list of goals. Without that understanding, his purpose is likely to be counter-productive, and he’s just as likely to head in the wrong direction.

Result goals are not within the hitter’s control, therefore they are inappropriate. It’s all well and good to have the desire to achieve a certain number of hits, home runs, RBI’s and so on, but a hitter can’t dictate what happens to the ball after he hits it. He cannot control the ability of the players trying to get him out or how another team defenses him, but is able to control his thoughts and actions before and during his swing. That’s where his concern and focus should be.

Being well prepared and well conditioned, being relaxed, keeping your eye on the ball, knowing when and how to make adjustments, being able to focus on the immediate task at hand — these are simply stated but formidable goals. They are all behavior goals — and those are the ones a hitter can work on daily. He cannot work on his batting average, which is an end. His behaviors are the means to that end, but even impeccable behavior doesn’t guarantee the result of getting hits.

What goals are appropriate for you? As a sales manager who works with several different companies and a slew of different sales personalities, I ask those that I work with not just to define a goal, but to also identify the steps it takes to achieve that goal. These steps not only help to determine how appropriate the goal is, but get the goal setter to think about what type of person he/she needs to become in order to achieve those goals.

One client set a goal of gaining 2 new clients which would result in an additional $10,000 of new business each month. When identifying what he needed to do to get there, he came to the realization that he needed to better organize his day; which started with getting into the office on time and calling 5 potential clients between 8:30 and 9:30 AM—the time he usually reserved for watching SportsCenter after dropping the kids off at school. Those 5 calls a day lead to 3 additional meetings a week, which lead to 2 new clients a month and an additional $10,000 of new business. While the result was what was hoped for, the real achievement was that the client now had learned how to organize his day and was better able to truly help his clients–which had as much or more to do with the new clients as the additional phone calls did. He took those skills and made them a regular part of his life; now having the ability to spend more time with his family and to enjoy the fruits of his hard work.

By becoming that better person, you, too, will find success, no matter how many home runs you hit.

Are You A Goal Setter?(polls)


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