I met a good and longstanding friend of mine for dinner the other night. As usual we asked each other how work was going. His work is all about sales targets and revenue so it’s easy to measure and compare against previous years, other teams, other organisations and of course against the targets he was set.

‘We have smashed it out of the park!’ was his headline summary. I love that phrase. What a great position to be in, early November and he’s safe in the knowledge that everything his team achieves between now and the end of the year is over and above the target. Well done!

It’s a great feeling to hit a target, even better to exceed it. The process begins however with deciding what the target and sticking to it. Make sure you do it. It’s no good just drifting along in the general direction hoping that the output will keep everyone happy, including yourself.

There’s always the challenge aspect too. Once when I told a colleague about one of my projects and the timescale I had set for it their immediate response was ‘wow, that’s ambitious!’ From that point forwards I thought a) yes, maybe it is and b) I’d better get on with it! That simple comment became a real driving force because my mindset became ‘I’m going to show you I can deliver this!’ I became focussed and quite stubborn in achieving my goal. The client definitely got their money’s worth.

I find it much more satisfying to work like that.

So here we are at the end of another year. Most of us will be thinking about our targets for next year or maybe for our next sequence of work. Some of us will be setting our own targets, some of us will have targets set for us but from that point on we have to decide what we are going to do about meeting them.

Starting early, measuring progress regularly and gathering your evidence as you go are all good practices to make the assessment of whether you have met the target at the end easier and clearer – especially if your target is not expressed purely in numbers.

If for any reason you feel you may not reach your target I recommend you act early – don’t wait until the night before the deadline to try and fix a year-long project that’s not gone to plan!

And finally, when you hit your target, give yourself a much deserved reward.

December 13, 2015 at 8:31 pm
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