Julian’s Business Tips: When Is A Goal A Bad Goal?

I remember listening to a couple of parents bemoaning their offspring’s football team performance: ‘There’s nothing worse than losing!’ commented one mum, and she’s right of course, isn’t she?

Well… Not exactly.

None of us likes to lose, but I’m going to suggest that to set yourself the personal goal of winning every time is counter-productive and an irrational way of thinking.

I say this is because the chance of you winning is affected by lots of external factors; many of them outside your control – not least, the performance of your colleagues.

In a football team, the coach gives everyone a different role – and each player needs to try and carry out that role perfectly. For example, the defender’s goal is not to score the winning goal, instead they should focus on tackle rate, or successful tackles, or accuracy of long balls up to the forwards.

All these things are much more in their direct control and are much better things to focus on to maintain personal motivation. The players trust the coach to choose the right strategy, and know that is they focus on delivering their part, the team should do well.

As the boss of a business, you are the coach, so you need to set the ‘goals’ because you can’t manage what you don’t measure. You need to know what the business needs, and how to measure it (key performance indicators) as well as what each of your team players needs to focus on.

It’s up to you to write the strategy and give the staff their targets. Setting the wrong ones can be counter-productive (and have cost many a football manager their job), but set the right ones and you should have happy motivated staff who can, in turn, deliver team glory.