A goal without a plan is a wish.
(Herm Edwards, in the fantastic 30 for 30 documentary “Broke”)
I’ve been on vacation this past week, enjoying the quiet and comfort of my parents’ house. The plan was to spend time thinking about my goals for 2013, both personal and professional, and of course, devise corresponding plans.
But, as usually happens when I’m home and unplugged from the office, I’ve crossed very little off my to-do list, including the aforementioned goal setting. What I have done is completely decompress: read a few books, cleared through most of the saved articles in my Pocket, watched a lot of NBA, and played a ton with my sister’s new puppy.
And I think that’s incredibly essential to setting goals and making plans. You need clarity of mind and spirit to truly understand what goals you want to achieve. Only after really removing yourself from the day-to-day minutiae of life can you ask yourself the tough questions about what you want to achieve, and why - not to mention answer them with the necessary specificity to make realistic, actionable plans.
If a goal without a plan is a wish, then setting a goal without clarity of purpose is dreaming - somewhat real, somewhat not, and likely something you’ll forget.
Similar discipline is required when setting partnership and strategic goals. It’s easy to get caught up in metrics that you haven’t really thought through, or set goals at arbitrary levels (e.g., we need 5 partners live 3 months from now). Take the time to step back and unplug every now and then; recalibrate and reset your outlook on everything about your business. Then set some goals, make some plans, and get back to work.