DSC04155-BWe are approaching that time of year when we make and forget resolutions. Verne Harnish in “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” wrote that effective business leaders identify just one high-priority goal to be accomplished over the next 12 to 18 months. The power of one shared goal greatly increases the likelihood that the goal will be achieved.

Goals fall short when the safety of the status quo outlasts the desire to see a change of fortune. The obvious advantage of one goal is focus; not just for you but for the organization as well. There are three areas where focus can provide the leverage to achieve change and results: innovation, priority, and accountability.

Innovation: The most dramatic change comes when organizations take a fresh look at a challenge that replaces a process; rather than doing the same thing faster or cheaper. Having a single goal fosters broader cooperation and collaboration that will break down resistance to change.

Priority: Whether you are a one-man shop or a large corporation, time spent on activity that does not support the goal threatens success. Insufficient resource in a particular skill area is the killer of many initiatives. Departments and individuals are far more likely to schedule activity or volunteer resource if they attach some urgency and importance to a single goal.

Accountability: One advantage of a single goal is that the scorecard is fairly simple. Initiative will flounder if there are no measures in place to measure progress. The common excuse is that it’s difficult to project schedules and cost for something an organization hasn’t done before. The discussion surrounding setbacks and disappointments will often reveal a new approach to the solution. (See Innovation.)

Another key success factor in achieving positive change is picking the right goal. The business leader needs a process for researching markets and technology that guarantees the goal is meaningful and realistic for the business. An experienced strategist can guide and direct a leader through an effective process.

Wishing you every success in 2015!

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