Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Much and By When?

How Much.001

Some people make achieving goals sound like a mysterious science.  They complicate things.  I’m not saying achieving your goals is easy, infact, often it’s easier not too.  Which is why so many don’t.  It’s easy to stay with the status quo.  It’s even relatively easier to go back the way things were.  That’s hardly progress though.

Have you even been stymied after a long meeting that didn’t seem to produce any actions?  Or received instructions from your manager or even a customer that weren’t clear?  There are two questions that will help. How Much?  and By When?

Yes, there are other elements to effective goal setting, however these two questions cut through much of the clutter. “How Much?” is your volume measurement.  It can be anything; dollars, units, customers, votes, legislation. “By When?” gives you a timeframe; a day, week, month, year.  Put the two question together and you have the immediate basis for accountably.  Which is why it’s hard for some people to answer those questions.  They want wiggle room.  They don’t want the accountability.

No one “likes” accountability yet we all thrive when it’s there.  We’re at our best when we’re accountable to ourselves, our family, customer or constituents, and ultimately a higher calling.  Accountability creates movement.  How much and by why is the lever to get things moving.  Get in the habit of asking those questions and providing the answers to projects that are important to you.

It’s hard to predict the future, so sometimes your answers will be off.  Maybe your how much was too much or too little.  Your by when too near or too far.  It’s okay.  Revise the answer and keep going.  If we can hold ourselves accountable to those two progress inducing questions we can achieve more.

As an exercise, listen to your favorite or least favorite politician speak and see how often they offer answers to those questions.  It will give you insight to the breadth of their vision.  If they have no vision, by no means follow them.

Action: Ask, How Much and By When at least once a day for a week then share your results here or on the Karl Bimshas Consulting Facebook fan page. Did your quest for accountability tick people off?  Did you feel like you moved something forward?  Were you satisfied with the answers?  A caveat: make sure you provide your own How Much and by when answers to anyone who asks you.

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