You’ve probably learned that setting objectives helps you be more productive. Big ambitions. Goals that are S.M.A.R.T. Goals that are a little more challenging. According to popular belief, in order to achieve something worthwhile, you must first turn it into a goal.
While setting objectives can be extremely beneficial, they don’t always guarantee success.
The Problem with Goals
Goals have one major flaw: they have an end point.
To put it another way, you won’t be successful until you’ve achieved your goal, and until then, you could feel like:
- You’re running in circles and not getting anywhere.
- You’ve failed .
- You haven’t made any progress.
This method of measuring success can make you feel defeated, especially if you have high aspirations.
If you strive to own a Fortune 500 company, for example, nothing you accomplish until you achieve that objective will make you feel successful. Even if you’re making great achievements in your business, they’ll pale in comparison to your difficult-to-achieve goal.
Because objectives have an “end,” you won’t feel like a success until you’ve accomplished it. Even if you achieve your goal, you must simply begin the process all over again with the next one. And to be honest, you may not even know what your “next” goal should be. As a result, you’re left feeling empty. You’re aware that you should be working toward a goal, but you’re not sure what that goal should be.
Worse, you might believe that because you’ve already achieved your objective, you can relax and fall back into old habits rather than pushing and progressing. You lose all of the progress you’ve made so far.
It’s all set up to make you feel like a failure all of the time.
The Power of Systems
There is a healthier method. They are what we call systems. You can use systems to:
- Make progress toward your objectives every day
- Ensure that you succeed.
- Assist you in achieving your goals
- Avoid running in circles.
What exactly are systems?
Scott Adams, in How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, explains the difference of systems and goals:
“Losing ten pounds may be a goal, while the system is learning to eat right.”
Here’s another illustration. Assume you want to clean the entire house from top to bottom. You’ve spent the entire day cleaning and are temporarily satisfied with your efforts. However, if you don’t have a system in place, your home will quickly fall into mess.
After a few of days…dishes will overflow the sink, laundry will pile up, and the whole house will be in shambles.
A cleaning regimen, on the other hand, would be a system. You train yourself to undertake tiny activities each day rather than cleaning the entire house in one day. The end effect is a clean house that lasts longer than a few hours.
Here’s an example from the business world
Goal: Over the next two months, generate $50,000 in revenue.
System: Make three cold calls (or as many as necessary) to possible new customers every morning.
The system ensures that you get to the desired outcome. Using a system does not imply that you don’t have any objectives. It simply implies that you begin to focus on the process rather than the end result.
What’s Wrong with Goals, Anyway?
You’ve undoubtedly heard your entire life that you should establish ambitious objectives and work hard to accomplish them. On the surface, having goals appears to be a good thing. Goals can encourage, inspire, and challenge us. They give us something to strive for and something to look forward to.
But goals can be inflexible and immovable.
Assume you’ve defined a definite aim for your business. You want to sell X number of items by a specified date. Want to put forth a lot of effort to make those sales. You expect your staff to follow suit. It’s possible that you’ll make a lot of money.
But what if you don’t reach your target amount?
Possibilities are you’ll feel as if you’ve failed.
Because you didn’t sell enough, all of the sales you made won’t bring you satisfaction. You’ll be unproductive, and you might even consider quitting. What’s particularly bad about this situation is that you may have passed up a number of opportunities along the way.
What’s the bottom line?
Tunnel vision can readily develop if you are extremely focused on a distant goal. Your desire to achieve a single objective may have prevented you from developing a new product that could be marketed for twice as much.
According to Scott Adams,
“…if you focus on one particular goal, your odds of achieving it are better than if you have no goal. But you also miss out on opportunities that might have been far better than your goal… With a system you are less likely to miss one opportunity because you were too focused on another. With a system, you are always scanning for any opportunity.”
What Role Do Systems Play in the Success of Entrepreneurs?
To begin with, systems are far more adaptable than goals.
If you’re a type A personality, you could be a little thrown off by this change at first. By not focusing so much attention on a future outcome, you may feel as though you’re giving up control. What happens when you move your emphasis from a specific destination to the process of getting there?
Is it true that if you’re focused on the system, you’ll abandon your aims and wander aimlessly?
No, is the quick response. This is why.
Consider a sports coach who, rather than focusing on winning, prefers to focus on selecting great players, devising spectacular plays, and implementing excellent practice routines.
What would the outcome be? They’ll almost certainly have a winning squad.
According to James Clear, “Every Olympian wants to win a gold medal. Every candidate wants to get the job. And if successful and unsuccessful people share the same goals, then the goal cannot be what differentiates the winners from the losers… The goal had always been there. It was only when they implemented a system of continuous small improvements that they achieved a different outcome.”
It’s critical to understand what works and what doesn’t in your process if you want your business to succeed.
Consider the aspects of your system that are working and those that aren’t.
- How does your hiring procedure work?
- Do you have capable staff who share your vision?
- If not, what can you do to improve your hiring practices?
- Consider your marketing strategy and the mechanism that underpins it.
- Is it functioning properly?
- What modifications can you make to your system to help you reach more customers and generate more revenue?
- Consider your products or services, as well as the infrastructure in place to support them.
- What can you do to make your product better?
- How can you make the process more efficient by streamlining it?
- Are your products or services undergoing adequate testing?
- If not, what can you do to make them better?
These tiny changes will make you feel more successful, fulfilled, and productive on a daily basis. Learning to persevere in the face of adversity will provide you with confidence and enjoyment in a way that achieving difficult goals will not.
A system teaches you how to get better at what you do and improves your skill level significantly. You have the freedom to modify and go on if things aren’t working out.
You still retain the abilities you learned, but you can apply them in a different way now.
That’s what’s wonderful about systems.
If you are need help creating and implementing these systems, reach out, we are here to support you.