Momentum Podcast: 394
Why Most Goals Are Losers
by Alex Charfen
I find it ironic that most of the time, the goal setting experts are not goal achievement experts. They just get people hyped up, excited, and setting massive goals.
When you actually have to help people achieve them, you end up doing things differently.
No one likes to feel like a failure. I have a really hard time understanding why so many people consistently set themselves up to miss the mark. I am a goal achievement expert. One of the biggest challenges I face with entrepreneurs is this notion that your goals have to be unbelievably crazy, unrealistic, and high in the sky. Here's the problem, that may work when you're on your own, but when you have a team, it just doesn't. Teams do not like to lose.
Full Audio Transcript
Alex Charfen: I find it ironic that most of the time, the goal setting experts are not goal achievement experts. They just get people hyped up, excited, and setting massive goals. When you actually have to help people achieve them, you end up doing things differently.
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is The Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds ... those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average, and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent positive human evolution. And we always will be.
I got into an interesting exchange today on Facebook. One of my clients made this post. She said, "I'm having a discussion with someone in our free Facebook group that says to aim high and set your goals way high ... because even if you don't reach them, you'll do really well anyway, and I know that Alex disagrees with this, and I do as well."
She said, "Someone once said, 'Shoot for the moon. Even if you'll miss, you'll wind up among the stars. If you set the bar high, you'll aim for that goal. If you set the bar low, you'll aim for that goal.' I just don't understand why people would consistently want to miss the mark."
I absolutely agree with my client. In fact, there was a lot of people who weighed in here. In fact, somebody else said, "Ha, ha, ha, funny. We are so different, and I think that's why we mesh well." But this way of goal setting has always been my way, but what's key is that I do not ever put myself down for falling short.
I use my big crazy goals as motivation, and then I feel immense gratitude and pride for whatever comes out of it. Now here's the challenge. I am a goal achievement expert. I show people how to grow businesses in a fast way, with connected teams that end up growing into movement, and growing into massive empires. I show people how to go form six figures to seven figures, from seven figures to multiple seven figures, from eight figures ... from multiple seven, to eight and even beyond, and we do this all the time.
But one of the biggest challenges I face in working with entrepreneurs is this notion that your goals have to be pie in the sky, big, hairy, audacious, unbelievable, exciting, incredible goals that get you motivated. Well, here's the problem. That may work when you're working on your own. I don't believe it does. I actually think it sets up all types of negative patterns. But once you create a team, teams do not want to lose.
See, teams don't see goals as some fluffy outcome that they might make. Teams don't know how to use judgment to make them feel good when they fall short. Teams don't understand the difference between a goal that you really mean and a goal that you don't mean. So here's the challenge. If you're setting up unrealistic goals in your business that you don't really intend to hit, you are training your team that goals and outcomes in your company don't really mean anything.
See, here's what happens. As your business grows and you get to multiple six figures, then to seven figures, you have to start doing things like projecting and understanding what's going to happen next. And making sure you know what you as a team are going to need next, and what you're going to achieve. You have to start anticipating problems before they begin, and you have to start being able to predict the future with your team.
That means, that on a monthly basis, you predict what you're going to do in a month, and you achieve it. That means that eventually, on a quarterly basis, you predict what you're going to do in a quarter, and you achieve it. And that means that once, that eventually, you predict what you're going to do in a year, and achieve it. When you can do that over and over again, you will grow a massive company with a connected team, where you retain A players.
But you have to get past this setting of goals that are unrealistic, and let's get into the psychology of why entrepreneurs love unrealistic goals.
See, I'll go back to a few, or to a year and a half ago, when I was talking to one of my clients. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was on a call with her and her team, and they had just achieved $1 million in the prior year. First time they had ever been to $1 million. I asked them what the goal for the next year was, and she confidently said, "$10 million!"
I said, "Okay, well what are your plans to get there?" She said, "Well, I think we've been doing really well, and we all really love what we're doing, and we're going to try really hard, and we feel like we can hit $10 million." I said, "Okay. I'm not really hearing a plan there. What are your plans to actually hit $10 million?"
After a three- or four-minute discussion, we came to the realization that there was no plan there. This was just one of those goals that got thrown out there, that didn't really have a plan, that ... let's be honest, didn't really mean anything.
And so, here's the reason, as entrepreneurs, we love goals that are massive and unachievable. And we love this whole aspect, or this belief system that we can set huge goals, and not beat ourselves up for falling short and use crazy goals as motivation, but here's the problem. Our team doesn't see it that way. When we set up big crazy goals, here's what happens.
One, there's no accountability, for us or for our team. When you have a $1 million company, and you say, "I'm gonna do $10 million next year," and you have no idea how you're going to do it, there is literally no accountability around that goal. You're not going to track it on a monthly basis. You're not going to sit down as a team and say, "Okay, guys, did we do $833,000 last month?" Because that's what it takes to hit $10 million in a year.
If you do sit down with them and say, "Did we do $833,000?", and you didn't? You have to now show them how you lost, but it's okay. You have to show them how you set an outcome. You missed, but then you have to explain them how they can lose gracefully, and if you do teach your team to lose gracefully, here's what happens. You set a conversion plan for 20% in your sales team, that one out of five people is going to buy.
They come in at 10%, but they really tried, and they're not going to beat themselves up for falling short. You set a customer service standard that you want all of your customers ... you want everybody answered within 24 hours. Well, they do it within 72. They tried really hard. They fall short. Isn't it still okay? Wasn't that a big crazy goal?
The challenge with setting these massive goals is that there's no accountability. The second problem? There's no plan. When you set a big massive goal that's unachievable, you can plan to move in the direction, but you don't really have a plan to achieve it. And when you don't have a plan to achieve it, you and your team aren't going to have clarity about what's going on. What ends up happening when you create massive goals that you present to your team?
See, I've been there in the room once the entrepreneur leaves. They roll their eyes. They look at each other funny. They have no idea what you're talking about. They don't know how you could possibly achieve what you just said. But they all sit there, thinking, "We've now been tasked with achieving, literally, the impossible." But remember. There's no accountability. There's no plan. And when you have no accountability and no plan, here's what happens.
There is a delta between what you tell your team you expect, and what they believe they have to deliver. And if you set up this, "I have massive expectations, but you can deliver less and it will be okay," that will become your company's culture. You will have a company culture of losing gracefully. You will have a company culture of setting unrealistic outcomes and falling short.
You will have a company culture of setting goals, and it being perfectly fine to miss them, because how do you duplicate the decision-making around outcomes not happening? In fact, how do you train, "Hey, here's how we set a goal, but it's okay if we miss it by this much in this time period"? "Here's the unrealistic outcome," we're going to say, "but here's my thinking process on how we really think about it."
The problem is, setting huge motivational goals that get you excited as an entrepreneur, and make you feel like you're conquering Mount Everest, might work when it's just you. In fact, I think a lot of the times, when we hear phrases like, "Shoot for the stars, even if," or "Shoot for the moon, if you fall short, you end up among the stars" ... first, it's kind of funny, because the moon is way closer to us than the stars. So if you shoot for the moon and miss, chances are you're not going to wind up among the stars, you're going to wind up crashing and burning in the atmosphere.
But the place that quotes like that from is in the getting started phase of being an entrepreneur. So if you're in the getting started phase, and you want to set big crazy goals to get you motivated? Then go for it. But if you're ready to mature, as an entrepreneur, if you're ready to actually create a real business that makes projections, sets outcomes, calls your shots and actually knocks them down? Then it requires stepping in the direction of setting real outcomes in your business that you and your team can achieve.
It means setting the destination, so that on a monthly basis, you're tracking proximity to it, and you are crushing it as a team. And it means putting the target closer, so that you and your team always punch through it. Because here's the reality of the best people in small an entrepreneurial businesses. The best people are there for the cause. The best people are there because they're excited to work, and see their work actually create an outcome.
The best people in small businesses are the ones who want more direct effect on what they're doing. They actually want to create an effect with what they do every day. They want what they're working on to move the world forward. The challenge is, if they are constantly giving goals that are bigger than what can be achieved, then they are constantly made to lose, and A players will not lose over time. A players will actually leave a company that is creating a loss every time.
Because, whether you accept this or not, this is fact. As the CEO of a business, as the leader of people who are working with you, you are one of the most important people in their ... sorry! In their lives. I get a little fired up about this, if you can't tell.
I've watched way too many entrepreneurs waste years and years and years setting crazy outcomes with a team. I've watched too many entrepreneurs lose great people on their teams. I've watched too many entrepreneurs burn team members, lose A players, lose the most important people to them, and I just don't want sit for it anymore.
Because when you pull the target closer, and you show A players ... not only that they can win, but they can win consistently, and that you're proud of them, and you're excited for them, and that you guys punch through your goals? When you start nailing your annual goal by July or August of the year, everyone on your team is going to be in momentum.
When you pull the target closer and let people punch through it, they're going to be excited to win. And here's what I know about every team I've ever worked with. You may know the team you work with today, and the human beings that are there, but unless you're achieving goals consistently, you don't know what they're capable of, when they all feel like they're winning.
This is one of the most dynamic changes in business, when you go from a team that has been losing consistently, to pulling the target closer, creating outcomes that your team can achieve, and watching them punch through it, here's the irony. That is the path to achieve the goal you would have set in the first place.
See, as entrepreneurs, we like to work from behind. We like that Mount Everest feeling, we like the woolly mammoth, but anybody on our team is along for the ride, and when we create that massive outcome, when we put them in front of Mount Everest, when we put them running away from the woolly mammoth, they have no control over that outcome. They Have no say as to whether it should be there or not, and so, they are a passenger in your goal setting activity that makes them lose. Eventually, they just won't put up for it, with it.
But if you create an atmosphere and an environment where teams win consistently, if you create the systems, the structure, where your team sets goals and then they crush them, everyone in your team will be winning. Everyone in your team will be in momentum. You will see transformation on your team you didn't even think possible. Because, when people win, they tend to want to win over and over again. When a team wins together, nothing creates a progressive company culture as much as a team winning together. Nothing creates a depressing company culture as a team losing together.
So in this time of year, when we all sit down to start setting goals, whether you have a team or not, I have a challenge for you. Make 2019 the year you actually achieve your goals. Make 2019 the year that you put down your goals and you crush through them. Make 2019 a year of massive momentum for you, for your team, for everyone around you by pulling the target closer, punching through it, showing yourself what you're capable of, and maturing as an entrepreneur to the point where you can lead a real organization
Because eventually, here's the problem. You go to multiple millions, you go to eight figures, and you still have this culture where goal setting doesn't mean anything? You create this culture, where outcomes don't mean anything/ You create this culture where, "Hey, we shoot for this, but we're okay with this"? Eventually, it's just not sustainable. The entire team you have will be confused as to what they really should do. Your team will be confused as to what is really expected from them, and you as the CEO will find yourself pulling your hair out, because you have a team that doesn't commit, and actually achieve.
You do not want to set up a culture of missing. Don't set up a culture of losing, and don't set up a culture of being unrealistic, and celebrating forward progress. Set up a culture of calling your shots and crushing them. That is what's going to make 2019 the best year in the history of your business.
I want you to achieve more than you ever thought possible. Pull the target closer, punch through it, and you will see an entirely new dynamic as to how to set goals, achieve them, create momentum and win on purpose. You're an entrepreneur. You're one of the few people in the world that gets to set up the rules for their life, set them up so that you and your team win.
If you're ready to start winning over and over again, if you want to build a team that can support you and help you crush through your goals, and if you're ready to join a community of other entrepreneurs doing the exact same thing, go to billionairecode.com/apply. Answer a few questions for me and my team. We will review them, and then get you on the phone with either me, or a member of my team, so that we can show you exactly how you can set your outcomes, achieve them, go from six to seven figures, from seven to multiple seven, and even from multiple seven to eight?
Let's help you build the organization you've always known you should have, and start creating the dent in the universe that you've always been just delusional enough to think that you can. Because that delusional crazy part of your mind that tells you you can is the most rational sane part of any entrepreneur. That is your birthright. That is who you are. That is what you need to make reality. Let's do this: billionairecode.com/apply.