Goal Planning that Actually Works

Michael Miller | November 16, 2020

The Key is Keeping it Simple.

Arrow hitting target next to man on a ladderIf you had to define successful goal planning, what would your answer be? As a businessperson, your definition may be making a lot of money. A salesperson may define success as becoming the top salesperson in the company. Success means many different things to different people. However, few have really thought through how they’ll actually become successful. Effective goal planning is the key to success.

Why Goal Planning Matters

Goals and plans are the magic key to success and happiness. Just three percent of businesspeople have written goals and constructed plans to achieve them. Ten percent have goals but never write them down. However, a whopping eighty-seven percent of professionals drift through their careers without goals. Not surprisingly, it’s the top three percent with goals and a plan who accomplish fifty to ninety percent more over the course of their careers than professionals without written goals. Which camp do you want you and your agency to be in?

Three Keys of Effective Goal Planning

An effective goal plan has three crucial elements. Think of goal planning like a three-legged stool. Without one of these elements, the entire plan falls apart.

  1. Direction. Set your sights on a worthwhile goal and build your plan in that direction.
  2. Balance. Keep your goals realistic and attainable to prevent burnout and frustration.
  3. Belief. The greater your belief in yourself, the greater will be your degree of success.

Getting Started on Your Goals

I won’t sugarcoat it: setting and achieving goals requires effort, know-how, and perseverance. Those are the reasons many professionals don’t attempt to goal plan in the first place. They may feel it’s too much trouble, or that they do not know how to get started. They may not have faith in themselves or in the goals or planning program they have put together. Or, they become frustrated and give up because they have not experienced immediate success in the short-term.

No one but you can force yourself to set and attain goals. But if you are ready to commit to your success, start with the heart of your goal setting efforts: the plan of action. Your very first task is to develop a blueprint for success. Without it, confusion and frustration will reign. Your plan of action should include detailed goals and a commitment to attaining them.

To complete your blueprint, write a detailed description of what you want to achieve. Take a look at your past performance over the last one to three years and decide which areas you would like to improve. Maybe you want to increase your policies in force next year by thirty percent or add five new carrier relationships to your offerings. 

Now, build a monthly calendar of the benchmark goals you’ll complete to progress toward your larger goal. Estimate the time it will take you to complete each goal. Make a list of the resources you’ll need to check them off your list. 

From there, break your monthly goals into weekly tasks. Add these tasks to your weekly calendar. Get very specific with your planning process. Block out time on your weekly schedule and gather the resources you listed in your monthly calendar so you have everything you need to accomplish your tasks.

It’s now time for the final and most important step in effective goal planning: implementation. Take the list of the top ten priorities from your weekly planner and divide them by day. Set aside some time every morning to review your daily tasks. List the top priority items for the day. Be very specific: include every detail you’ll need to complete each task. Check off tasks from your daily activity planner as you accomplish them. Keep a record of your accomplishments so you can review them at the end of the week or month and see your progress.

Take your detailed daily activity planner with you everywhere. If you keep your goals with you each day, it is much more likely they will become a reality. You may also find it helpful to create visualization board for your office to look at several times a day and keep your goals top-of-mind.

Goal planning that actually works requires time, effort, and commitment. But it also pays big dividends if you persevere. Be honest with yourself, dare to think big, believe in your plan, and take action.

Cover of Smart Choice Magazine 2020 Issue V, Year End Edition2020 Year-End Edition

Despite 2020 being one of the most irregular years of our lifetimes, both personally and professionally, Smart Choice, our agents and carrier partners, have managed to succeed together. From double-digital revenue growth to our company's highest contingency sharing year to date, we and our partners have hit some really incredible milestones this year. Check out what else we achevied together in the 2020 Issue 6 of Smart Choice Magazine.

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