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It is the New Year. The time of year we hear more about Bucket Lists, Goals, Resolutions, and Self-Improvement than any other time of the year. And rightly so, studies have shown for sustained long term success, the execution of goals is one of the single most important steps one must master. What better time to start than at the beginning of a New Year?
Goals…. “A year from now, you may wish you had started today.” Karen Lamb
However success isn’t just about setting some goals…it’s about setting the right goals for you and then taking focused consistent action. And the right goals for you mean they need to be in alignment.
Most successful leaders implement goal setting at some level. At a recent engagement, I asked the group how many had business goals? The room was comprised of several owners of successful companies and professional educators connected to their industries. Not surprising, I think all of them had business goals.
The next question was to ask how many had personal goals. Again, most of them raised a hand of acknowledgement.
The final question was how many of you have your business goals aligned with your personal goals? Alignment?….What?
Why have Congruency and Alignment in Goal Setting?
Have you ever driven a car in bad need of a front end alignment? The steering wheel pulls you to the left or right; you don’t dare take your hands off the wheel because you’ll quickly drift into another lane of traffic or completely off the road. It’s dangerous. Furthermore, you miss out on a lot of what you’re driving past on both sides of the highway, because you have to focus so hard on keeping the car on the road as it pulls you left or right. It becomes a constant battle to stay in your lane and not swerve too far in either direction.
Now imagine you’re driving a car and your personal goals are on one side of the road and your business goals are on the other. The destination of the highway holds what you hope to achieve both personally and professionally in your lifetime. If you aren’t setting business goals that are congruent with your personal goals you will constantly be fighting the steering wheel as it tries to pull you one way or the other. Because you are out of alignment, you risk spending too much time focusing on keeping yourself in the center of the highway.
The lack of alignment becomes dangerous when you are pulled out of balance – to one side or the other. In addition, you’re not going to enjoy the drive…it’s stressful and you can’t observe what’s around you. You’ll miss opportunities both professionally (markets, products, employees, etc.) and personally (family, vacations, health, etc.) If you keep it up long term your business suffers and it can wreck a personal life.
Now imagine, you’re on that same highway and driving a newly aligned car. Your personal goals and business goals are still on opposite sides of the road, but they are aligned so well you can almost take your hand off the steering wheel (don’t!). The goals you have set professionally are congruent with your personal aspirations and likewise, your personal goals align with your business goals. So even when you are focusing solely on a personal goal (i.e. vacation) your car stays on the road!
Sound like a better car to be driving? The next time you’re driving, imagine your personal and business goals on opposite sides of the road in front of you, how well would your car be steering? If you’re feeling a pull to one side more than the other, it may be time for an alignment. Make it a great 2013!
Please share your thoughts about (goal) alignment in the comments below.
Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach