Pick up any business book and it will tell you to set goals. It will tell you that if you have no goals, you will flounder and eventually fail.

So, I guess we need to set goals. But what kind of goals?

It’s good to have long-range goals. It’s even better if you can carry out long-range goals. I’ve learned that very few people can do that.

Do we then set one year goals? Quarterly? Monthly?

It’s great to have goals for all of those time frames. But can you really set and then meet a business goal a year into the future? I doubt it. Most ‘forecasting’ is done by looking backwards. How did we do last year? That somehow determines how we will do this year. Silly.

That is like driving from San Francisco to New York by looking only in the rear view mirror. If San Francisco is behind us, we must be going in the right direction. Crazy.

Experts cannot forecast. Economists cannot predict recessions or recoveries. Generals cannot predict victories. Stock brokers cannot predict market results. Meteorologists cannot predict the weather.

We waste too much time ‘forecasting’. There is too much uncertainty. Too many Black Swans.

I recommend setting a goal for each day and for the week. What can you do today to make a difference? Better. Always be thinking about how to do things better. If you had that as a daily goal, wouldn’t the week end up better?

Takeaway? Set short term goals that you know you can reach. As you get better at this goal thing, set longer range, bigger goals. But there’s nothing wrong with starting small.

As far as we know, the entire universe was once smaller than a pea. Nothing wrong with starting small.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
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