“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss..

NASA didn’t decide one day, “let’s go to the moon” and then shot off a rocket in the general direction. They started, in 1958, with Project Mercury, which resulted in launching John Glenn into orbit in February 1962. The Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin beat him there by 10 months. Then NASA moved on to Project Gemini, which provided the tools needed to ensure that astronauts could survive and work in space, and finally advanced to Project Apollo that took mankind to the moon in July 1969.
I don’t imagine any of us have plans to become space explorers, although I could be wrong – but all of us do have goals. It is said that the simple equation of Ambition plus Planning equals Goals Achieved. It sounds easy, but as they say, the devil is in the details.
If you get a chance, watch this Youtube video regarding the daily habits of successful people. Although all the habits are great, one of them should hit home for businesses. The narrator suggested setting 90-day goals for your employees – you can think of them as goal sprints. We have all set goals and then failed to achieve them for any number of reasons, many of them coming down to the fact that we lose track or focus, or because other things get in the way. Setting 90-day goals is a way to avoid this.
Will Mancini’s blog “Clarity Changes Everything” speaks specifically to the advantages of goal sprints, or 90-day goals. For example, a 90-day goal:
·     Makes it easy to focus your attention
·     Prevents the discouragement of thinking you’re not going anywhere
·     Regathers personal and business energy that has been dispersed and fragmented
·     Creates an “eye of the storm” of calm singularity amid the swirl of competing responsibilities
·     When achieved, one after the another, creates confidence and maintains momentum.
In a blog written by Anjal Binayak, published in Asian Efficiency, he points out that looking 90 days out, you have a good idea of what you can actually get done in that time frame, so your capacity estimates are about right, and yet you can make some very substantial progress towards a big goal. Additionally, “It leads to moving faster without compromising strategy (allowing you to be) more agile”.
Planning a year in advance, or even having a 5-year plan is great, but let’s be honest. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that things are going to change and any plans, especially any long-range ones, are going to change whether we like it or not.
In an entrepreneurial setting, or a small business venture, the goals you set a year in advance may not have much relevance 3 or 6 months down the road. Another advantage of 90-day goals is that you open up more options. Victoria Lynden, founder of Kohana Coffee in Austin, Texas says, “In 90 days, if I’m going to fail, I’m going to fail fast”. By failing fast, we give ourselves the opportunity to reset and move forward. In a blog published in Subhub, the author summaries it quite well: “The flexibility of having four goal-setting periods in one year, rather than just one, means that you’re able to see what’s working and what isn’t. There’s much less risk of wasting an entire year on the wrong goal or pursuing something that isn’t working purely because you’ve invested so much time and energy on it.”
Setting a goal 90 days in advance allows your employees to harness the enthusiasm and motivation we all get when we start something new, without the mental and emotional drain that sets in over the long haul. Seeing that 90-day window animates us to take action and prioritize the tasks we need to accomplish to achieve the 90-day goal.
Succeeding with a 90-day goal system requires the right strategy. As explained by Kara Mason in Ink+Volt, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
·     How am I defining this goal? – are you clear as to what you want to accomplish.
·     What are employees recurring tasks? – by establishing this, they can better organize their time around them.
·     Where are they I right now? In order to know where to set the finish line, you need to know where the starting line is.
·     What will this achievement look like? Set an ideal outcome, but also explore what another type of success may look like. Be prepared to work with your employees and recognize that as things change, the end result may look different.
Planning is difficult for any business. In today’s environment, it is an even more daunting task. As with any undertaking, breaking it up into more manageable pieces allows for continued enthusiasm as well as the ability to pivot or change course as changing circumstances dictate.
Annual goals may look great on paper, but keep in mind that progress and success may not look anything like you thought it would a year down the run.
Mack R. Douglas, the author of How to Make a Habit of Succeeding, said, “The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it.”