Establishing and Accomplishing Your 2011 Goals

Okay. You  know it’s coming, so let’s just get it out in the open and talk about it.

Your 2011 goals and budget.

It’s time (well, actually past time) to set them, but before you start sharpening your pencil, let’s review three things we need to know before moving forward.

  1. Vision – What is the vision of your company? What is the mission of your department?
  2. Goals – How do your goals align with the vision of your company?
  3. Initiatives/Plan – What initiatives are you going to commit to and support that will be key to hitting your 2011 goals?

Thinking through each of these three items will help you clarify your focus for the coming year. Not thinking through them may result in goals that are unrealistic or uninspiring, and there’s nothing worse for a team than tossing out a poorly thought out goal.

I’ve set many goals and initiatives in my career, and I’ve learned what works best during different conditions. Here are four tips as you establish your focus for the coming year:

Be realistic but not cheap.

I think there are three types of goal-setting mindsets.

The optimist sets goals that are unattainable, but they sure do get excited and pepped up about making them! The problem is that after about three months into the new year, the team realizes there is no way they’ll achieve the goals. So, the leader spends the remainder of the year trying to keep the team motivated.

The pessimist sets goals with a glass-half-empty attitude, never wanting to promise anything. In turn, their team is usually lost and unattached to the vision.

Then you have the realist. The realist is a good combination of the previous two mindsets. The realist has a handle on the guts of the organization, so they quickly connect key initiatives to the goals. It’s these initiatives that excite the troops. The realist applies a strategy and action steps to the initiatives. The result is a realistic and exciting goal that both inspires and challenges the team.

Make it a team-oriented approach.

Do you approach your goals and initiatives as a dreaded task or a team project? I don’t think I should make goals by myself.  Gather your team together. Have your opinion ready to share, and be prepared to inspire your team, but facilitate and organize the team to strategize on our goals.

Establish benchmarks.

Know where you want to be throughout the year so you can stay on track with your goals. Where do we need to be by the end of the first quarter? Where should our goals be tracking by halftime (at the end of the second quarter)?

Know the score.

When I was a basketball player, I always wanted to know the score. It’s no different in business. Make sure your scoreboard is available for everyone to see and make sure it’s easy to understand. Then, make sure you’re measuring what’s important to your business.

Once you’ve brainstormed your goals, think of three key initiatives that you need to create, enhance, or focus on that will be the determining factors for achieving your 2011 goals and determine who will own those initiatives. Plan now for where you want to be at the end of 2011 and how you plan to get there. The results will be well worth your time and effort.


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  • Chuck Fish says:

    Hi Linda,

    We miss your leadership at Express. Thank you for your sharing your expertise. It is always helpful! Best wishes for you and your family.

  • David Allen says:

    I have some work to do to get goals established. Thank you for sharing your experience to get me started in the right direction. Very timely! Very relevant!

  • Lisa Copeland says:

    Linda,
    I admire your wisdom . WHat an amazing blog! I look forward to establishing benchmarks for our business in 2011. Keep up the good work!
    Lisa Copeland
    General Manager
    FIAT of Austin