How To Achieve Your Business Goals by Revisiting the Ones You Missed

Determining how to achieve your business goals is one of the most frustrating and painful things someone in a leadership role can do. Often times the first thing we do is dissect our failures. But mulling over the things you failed to achieve in the past is the surest way to guarantee you actually meet your new goals in the future.

Let’s back up.

We talk a lot about data in modern marketing. Data lets us actually observe things as they are and draw connections that reveal patterns and critical insights. Only by studying data can we form hypothesis about how to change the future. Want to get more engagement on your posts? Study the engagement data for posts that exceeded the benchmark as well as the ones that failed miserably.

This transformative power of data extends beyond the digital world and into our everyday actions and decisions. That sounds kind of heavy, so let me rephrase: making smart observations about past failures can teach you what you need to do to succeed.

Getting this kind of data is tough because it is collected in your own head rather than on a computer. But you can start by writing important facts down regarding the goals you failed to meet in 2017.

Then, with a little detective work, you can make a plan to achieve your business goals and succeed in 2018.

Start With Reflection on Goals You Achieved and Missed

Your first order of business is to revisit your biggest goals set from the past year.

Ideally, you have these goals written down in some form. Maybe you have an official memo you sent out to department heads. Maybe you jotted them all down on a Post-It note and shoved it in a desk drawer.

From whatever sources you can scrabble together, come up with a list of things you intended to accomplish. Then, pick them all apart.

Which ones did you unquestionably succeed at? Which ones were partial successes? Which ones did you make headway but stopped short? Which ones got neglected entirely?

Write everything down. When you do this, you have just created data points that can reveal the difference between success and failure.

Learn From Your Business Goal Mistakes (And Achievements)

When you have the goals you failed at in front of you, try to draw objective observations.

Where do you think you went wrong?

For a lot of our goals, failure comes down to a lack of planning, for instance. We didn’t form a plan for success. There was no concrete outcome or end goal, just a vague idea of one. In turn, you weren’t able to structure a project around a goal, let alone a timeline of activities that will get you to it.

That’s ok! We have only so many things we can do in a day. Your intent right now should be to guess how you could have done things differently to find success.

So, for each goal you failed to achieve, write down at least three things you could have done to help you improve.

Establish Concrete Metrics for Success

Your next step is to ensure that all the business goals you intend to meet in the future have a measurable metric of success.

Let’s say you want to “do better at content marketing.” What does this mean? More conversions? More engagement? Industry awards?

Just listing these three end goals shows you how different your approach might be. If you set a goal of all posts having a 20% engagement rate, for instance, you will prioritize creating content that grabs attention and sparks interest a wide audience. If you want a higher rate of conversions, then maybe you want your content to have a less-broad appeal and a tighter focus on getting people into the next stage of your funnel.

And if you want to win awards, then your content will go above and beyond in terms of quality, aiming for far higher than you need to meet any typical business goal.

Come up with some numbers or distinct targets with your goal setting. Then, you can use these targets to establish a process that can lead to success.

Form a Strategy and Work the Process

With concrete goalpoints in hand and a list of what led to your prior failures, you can form a smarter strategy than ever for success in 2018.

Come up with milestones for your project that can help it succeed. Using the award-winning content example, this can include having brainstormed ideas by some deadline, a few proof of concepts by another date, and a first draft for one of your top choices well before the eligibility deadline.

These milestones in turn teach you what resources to allot and what schedule to set in order to meet your goals.

Brainstorming may require input from dozens of creative people and project leaders but only a small amount of time. Proof of concepts require several project teams working in tandem for a few weeks at minimum. Getting a first draft requires dedicating resources from multiple departments, including graphics and top-tier editors.

In this way, you form a map detailing your eventual journey to success. If you fail, you can determine what went wrong at more specific stages compared to having to guess.

Use this process to be more deliberate about how you plan ahead and avoid failure in the year to come. Believe in yourself, know what you’re capable of, and do better than you’ve done before.

Through this system, every mistake becomes an opportunity to be a more consistently successful person in the future. For more on how to achieve your business goals, check out my podcast Figuring It Out for more insights.