The Extraordinary Value of Lofty Goals

Articles – Risk Taking
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Risk Taking

The Extraordinary Value of Lofty Goals

A prospective client summed up his impression of my proposal to help him accelerate his revenue growth with the comment “It seems so lofty.” While I talked with him about concrete specifics, this comment—almost a criticism—has stayed with me. I’ve reflected on the question “What should a consultant or outside expert offer if not lofty goals?”

There are three benefits to lofty goals or objectives:

 

  1. Accountability. People and the businesses they populate need specific milestones to work towards. Without exciting milestones, such as ambitious revenue goals, the business has no direction. The higher those revenue goals, the more creative and disciplined the business will be. It takes a lot of creativity to achieve an ambitious goal and a lot of discipline to channel that creativity in ways that move the enterprise forward. A small goal allows too much wiggle room, flexibility and wasted effort.
  2. Decision criteria. The business owner or leader has a point of reference for every option and decision. When the goal is lofty, each option or decision has to be analyzed in terms of “Does this choice or action move us towards the lofty goal?” Among the many, many choices that will be affected are:
    • Marketing strategy
    • Marketing collateral
    • Who you will build relationships with
    • Who you’ll simply have as acquaintances
    • Prioritization of demands on you
    • What work you’ll delegate or outsource
    • What client projects you’ll pursue and those you won’t
    • What media you will read and what you won’t
    • Where to network
    • What industry organizations to join and support
    • What steps to take to nurture your current clients and customers
  3. Forces you get an extra pair of eyes and ears. Reaching a lofty goal in a compressed period time means no time for dawdling, thinking you’ll see how it goes or figuring you’ll keep doing what you’ve been doing and hope for the best. When a business owner says he or she wants to do some things him/herself, I ask “What will you do differently to give your business better results?” I believe that business owners do the best they can all the time. It isn’t about doing better or more. That simply exhausts you. It is about thinking and seeing things in dramatically new ways. The support of a trusted advisor with a significant track record of achieving lofty goals will do more for the owner in less time than the owner can even imagine.

Loftiness requires that you go outside of your typical universe. It may be uncomfortable. It may be unimaginable. Think of one thing in your life that you’d heard of but never experienced, and then remember the first time you experienced it and thought, “Wow, I had no idea!” That’s what lofty goals do for you and your business. There is some risk of course. And there is more serious risk of not having lofty goals.

My favorite business visionary, Randy Gage, wrote two amazing books that are required reading for any ambitious business owner who wants to increase revenue and owner wealth: Risky is the New Safe and Mad Genius. In Risky he describes how following the safe course of action is actually risky because the fast pace of change leaves the old tried and true behind.  In Mad Genius he turns the well-worn definition of insanity on its head. He says “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results.”  Today a business has to work harder and smarter just to maintain the status quo.

That is why I recommend lofty goals to all my clients. Set the bar high, very high. Accept advice and support from someone who imagines things you can’t even picture. You will make more progress in less time and your business and your world will be a more exciting, more creative, wealthier place.