In my former life, prior to owning two businesses, I was a classroom teacher. You may or may not realize that teachers spend a TON of time writing goals for themselves and their students and regularly reflect on those goals. So, to me reflection, the topic of this week’s blog post, was natural.
The Goal Setting Process
First we define priorities and dream big, next we write goals, then we plan how to achieve those goals, and finally we reflect on how we are doing. BUT, to my astonishment, as I was researching for this week’s blog post, I found very little on reflection in the business world. Most of the information I found in my research related to reflecting on goals was related to teaching and the classroom.
Doing vs. Reflecting
I found myself very confused for a while until I realized that most businesses are very focused on “doing” and not very focused on reflecting, a fact that is backed up by Umair Haque, an author and leading management thinker, when he states in an article he wrote for Harvard Business Review that
“What most companies (and economies) don’t do is to stop doing — and that’s a self-defeating problem. We seem to be clueless about making room for deep questioning and thinking: reflecting. Our doing/reflecting ratio is wildly out of whack. Most action items might just be distraction items — from the harder work of sowing and reaping breakthroughs that matter.”
How to Reflection on Your Goals
Folks, here’s the thing: reflecting is WAY more than just asking did I meet this goal or not? Not only does reflecting help us understand why we did or did not meet a goal, it also helps us in further developing and growing our business, becoming better business owners and professionals, and creating new and innovative products and services.
So, below are a list of reflection questions to consider as you review your goals on a regular basis.
- Am I on target to meet this goal? Why or Why not?
- Does this goal still align with my priorities?
- Is everyone involved clear about the mission and priorities that the goal supports?
- Is everyone involved clear about their role in meeting the goal?
- Do I have all the skills necessary to complete the tasks I need to complete in order to meet this goal?
- Am I focusing my energies on my specific area of expertise or am I trying to do too many things and not getting any of them done?
Schedule in the Time
In addition to reflecting on goals, I would also suggest, as would Hague and Greg McKeown, author of (the very excellent book) Essentialism, that giving yourself designated space in your schedule for reflecting or thinking about your business and your clients is absolutely necessary for your company to grow and for your creativity to flow. McKeown poses a very excellent question in his book: “…when did you last take time out of your busy day simply to sit and think?” He goes on to clarify “I’m talking about deliberately setting aside distraction-free time in a distraction-free space to do absolutely nothing other than think.”
So, when was it?
It seems like a luxury, but space and time to think and reflect provides the fuel and energy to not just get the work done, but to get the RIGHT work done. You can busy yourself with tasks, but are those tasks moving you and your business forward or are they “busywork” tasks?
In my businesses I ask myself every evening as I create my to-do list for the next day: Does this help me move closer to reaching one of my goals? Is this task in line with my area of expertise? Does this item match my priorities? Because, I don’t have time to waste on nonsense and neither do you.
By defining your priorities, setting and planning your goals you’re already many steps ahead of others because you’ve already given some thought to what you’re doing. So…don’t lose that steam. Think deeply about how your goals are going and why. And beyond that give yourself some time each week just to think about your business. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Want help along the way? Download my FREE Goal Setting Package for all the tools you’ll need on your journey.