Goal Setting Must-haves – Milestones, Check Points, and Constant Communication
In June, we talked about both initial goal setting for meetings and events as well as aligning those goals with big picture strategy. Both very relevant topics, that I’m sure added value to your approach to planning. However, a plan is only as good as it’s reassessment, and goals are only as good as their relevance. So, this week we’ll spend some time focusing on how setting mini goals like weekly and daily milestones and check points can help you stay on track to achievement, and ensure that you are assessing the ongoing relevance along the way. Again, the only thing worse than a conflicting or misaligned idea is spending the time, effort and resources to execute the idea… that’s a little repeat tidbit from the June blog that I liked, so I am offering again!
So, you’ve done your due diligence… written S.M.A.R.T. goals for your upcoming meeting or event that you are certain are in line with the overall organization’s objectives. Now, you have an ongoing planning process to get you from today until actual execution… if you’re lucky you have a good few months to get it done. If you’re living in the world we often do here at PE, you may only have a solid few weeks, but in either scenario there is a journey to the finish line, so there is an opportunity for reassessment along the way. Now that you’re standing between your initial goal and the end result, it’s time to put in the mile markers. [Sidebar: Please excuse my obnoxious and almost obsessive use of race/running metaphors, as we’re currently entrenched in the production of both a 5K and Marathon for our clients. And, the Olympics aren’t helping… it will get better post-November, I promise!].
Let’s start with the sample goal from the June blog (slightly modified):
Within 90 days of this event, 15 of our 50 attendees who received complimentary tickets will pledge to be new donors at the $2,000 annual giving level.
Knowing that fundraising was the primary goal of the event, the question is – what will we do to ensure we reach and/or exceed this goal while remaining aligned with the organizational objectives? Glad you asked! The answer for me has always been milestones, check points, and constant communication. At the same time that I establish the overall objective of the meeting/event using the S.M.A.R.T. goal method, I decide what makes it measurable (remember M = Measurable), and set up ways to track attainment. Then, I decide on the appropriate timing for check points, and ensure that I’m in constant communication with key stakeholders and/or leadership to guarantee we continue on the same page.
Need an example to make it real? I figured you might, so here goes (based on the above goal):
Milestones: Create a pledge goal for 15 days, 30 days, 45 days, 60 days, 75 days and 90 days post the event (i.e. at least three pledges at each milestone at the $2,000 level… I like to set the goal higher than what I need to realize for safety sake!). As you reach these milestones (or not), you’ll know if you’re on track or need to regroup, reset, or restructure your goals.
Check Points: With milestones in place to ensure you are working steadily toward the attainment of your goal, you’ll still want to ensure you have the processes in place to actually attain them. Your check points are the tasks you’ll have to complete so you’re not surprised when you reach milestones (or not). So in this case, you could be calling, emailing, snail mailing (or any other innovative strategy you come up with) your prospective supporters in the interim.
Constant Communication: Here’s where continued alignment comes in – as you achieve your milestones, you’ll want to ensure you have a process for communicating successes to stakeholders/leadership. What’s more important, though, is asking the candid question (or making the candid statement) of if anything has changed in terms of expectations, that this be communicated promptly and that you are open to receiving this feedback. At the risk of sounding like a broken record (and, what the hay, 3rd time’s a charm!) – the only thing worse than a conflicting or misaligned idea is spending the time, effort and resources to execute the idea!
With that, I bid you farewell (or so long, or see you later, or until next week) as you run swiftly toward the prize of goals attained!
Image courtesy of mterraza