It’s that time of year. After holiday celebrations die down and we inevitably return to the “real world” we are left with the question – how can I accomplish my goals for the New Year? This can be a particularly paralyzing question for leaders charged with balancing the needs and aspirations of multiple stakeholders.
Fortunately, research shows that when it comes to setting goals, less is more. Attempting to tackle too many issues at once or adhering too firmly to a strict plan can sabotage your chances at success.
First, start by shortening your planning intervals. Many of today’s most successful companies follow a mantra of flexibility, tackling strategy on a quarterly rather than yearly basis. This allows you to adjust to changing circumstances and integrate new learnings as you go.
Similarly, setting too many goals is also a common pitfall. Like your daily “to do” list, people tend to prioritize goals that offer instant gratification, ignoring possibly more important strategic initiatives that don’t demand the same level of accountability. To put it simply, when your list is too long, it’s easy to gravitate towards those that are easiest to complete.
In order to cut through the list clutter and make more impactful change, it can be helpful to focus on no more than one or two key strategic goals at once. This doesn’t mean you ignore other work that needs to be done. It simply helps you to segment your thinking and focus on achieving goals that will have a more meaningful impact on your long-term happiness and success.