Getting It Right: 5 Steps to Creating Valuable Clarity for Yourself and Your Organization

How to set goals and take action on what's most important to you in business and life.


1. Your Big Why

Decide what your big why is… If you haven’t already given serious thought to the purpose of your organization (and really, your own life values and purpose) take the time to at least begin to discern this. This compass will help you decide how to manage the everyday tasks before you.

2. Commitment Level

Determine what commitments and tasks are already on your plate. Capture these items in a simple list or even on sticky notes. The idea is to empty your mind and get all your commitments in front of you in documented form.

3. Divide & Conquer

Divide the list into great, good and bad. This group of categories is shared in Michael Bungay Stanier’s book, Do More Great Work.

Looking at your list of tasks and commitments, ask yourself:

  • Does this task or commitment move the needle in the direction of your big why?
  • Is something that I have to routinely do daily?
  • Is this task something I am comfortable doing but doesn’t significantly affect the objectives of our organization? (i.e. is it a pet project?)
  • Does this task still need to be done at all?

4. Set Objectives

Discern three to five key objectives you want to achieve in a set period of time. By now you should be revamping your original list and it should be easier to select a few items of focus.

You can divide your list into categories such as “Yes, I think that is important” and “This is less important.”

Then, give yourself a deadline such as 60 or 90 days to move toward those goals in a concrete way.

Question to ask yourself:

  • How do you want to feel at the end of the time period you’ve selected?
  • Do the initiatives you’ve decided on really match your big why of life and work?
  • For example, your goal may be to write a 10,000-word ebook, but why?
  • What is the purpose of the book, and what do you want to feel when it is finished?

5. Take Action

Do it! Make a plan and focus on those goals. Think about how you want to feel when they are finished and design a concrete plan for getting there.

Example: In mid-2015, I started a coaching program and went through these five steps. First, I thought about what my big themes were for the year.

They were:

  1. Building a better understanding of gainsharing at my company unit.
  2. Develop excellence in the new coaching program that I was learning.
  3. Striving to develop as a thought leader in helping mid-level manufacturing leaders develop themselves.

In step 2, I did a brain dump of all the things that I had some kind of commitment to. This took up a couple of pages! I did not filter anything and just tried to capture everything I could think of.

For step 3, I started putting pluses and minuses next to the items on the list and then also marked them if they linked to three top themes. Then, I also acknowledged the “Good Work” that needed to be done to keep things running smoothly.

Then, I found things that I could quit or things that might be interesting in the future, but not a key to my current goals.

In step 4, I started creating a list of the sub projects and milestones that I needed to complete for the three big goals.

For example, with the goal of developing as a thought leader, some of my subprojects were:

  1. Define my ideal client with very specific attributes
  2. Start blogging and writing on my subject
  3. Begin a process of connecting to others in my area of interest.
  4. I also developed specific actions for each of the sub-projects.
  5. I had a weekly call with my coach, where I would account for the previous week’s results and map out the next week’s actions.

Now it’s your turn. What is the #1 thing you will take away from this post?

Tell me in the comments below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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