To achieve a goal, you really only need to do three things. To improve performance and results, there are 12 steps. I want to tell you why, and I want to give you the first three steps right now.

Everything depends upon action. You can design the perfect goal, but if you don't take action, the goal cannot be achieved. A lot of people pay good money to learn how to set an effective goal. Forget all of that right now, because if you learn to put action first, you will achieve more than the 80% of people who are still trying to write the perfect goal.

Here are the first three essential steps for achieving goals. I call this 3-Step Execution.

1. Execute.

When I asked my son if he set a goal to earn a 4.0, he said, "No, I just did what I needed to do." You do need a plan to become your best, but you don't need a plan to get started. You have a sense of what you need to do. Without spending any more time thinking or putting it off, start doing it. Refine what you are doing later.

Taking action is easier for people whose lives are guided by values. Taking the right action consistently produces momentum. Over time, consistency has a compounding effect.

So if you have a strong sense of what you really ought to be doing, then the first step for you is to just start acting on that sense. You will be surprised how far action takes you, if you act first and refine second.

2. Report.

In order to be effective at using goals, you must maintain a Measurement Schedule. You may be taking action -- because that is important -- but make sure you are measuring from the very beginning. You need to include measurement in any goals program, if you intend for your goal to be effective.

Measurement determines your focus. Measurement provides everyone with feedback. Measurement helps leaders develop better understanding. Measurement is the key tool of management and a key communication device between Management and Production. You can't measure some things, but you can always measure something.

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3 Steps to Achieving a Goal » White Hat Crew said:
[...] my brother, Thor, wrote the other day reminded me of that: A lot of people pay good money to learn how to set an effective [...]
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If you are not sure what to measure, let me suggest two things. First, measure whatever you are doing -- your input. Second, measure your result -- an output. That will get you started.

3. Reward.

There are two ways to motivate anyone. You can either reward them or punish them.

Get used to rewarding yourself when you do the right things or get the right results. Reward provides a positive incentive for effective action. Positive direction increases choice and creativity.

Punishment provides a disincentive for dysfunction and inaction. Negative direction increases focus by reducing choice.

When there is neither reward nor punishment, we shouldn't expect you to have any motivation for action.

Many people make the mistake of using the result as the only reward. For example, if you have a goal to lose 20 pounds, then you only feel rewarded for your efforts when you are actually losing weight. Most people don't stick with their weight loss goals, because on a bad week, there is no reward for sticking with the goal. With no reward, they lose motivation and quit.

Try rewarding yourself for the action you are taking. There can always be a bigger reward for achieving the result that you are after. You can really celebrate big achievements. But if you want to become a person who takes action, or you want to motivate people on your team, then motivate the behavior that you want. The results will come as you refine the goal.

4, 5, 6, ... 12.

A really smart person -- someone who understands what you are trying to achieve and how to achieve it -- they can help you improve your goal. You might be that person. You might be able to diagnose your execution. You might be able to analyze your measurement schedule and data. You might know exactly how to achieve your goal.

We have leaders, because they have the knowledge base to guide us. There is a leadership role to be played in using goals. Most of the people need to be taking action, but at least one person needs to providing feedback. If you learn steps 4 through 12 of using goals effectively, then you will understand how to play that leadership role with respect to your goals.

We have managers, because effective managers help people. Good managers teach, motivate, reward, and make us feel connected to the rest of the team. We want to achieve our goals when we have good relationships. If you learn steps 4 through 12 of using goals effectively, then you will understand how to play that management role with respect to your goals.

So there is a lot more to what I want to teach you about goals. For today, I hope that you decide to just do something. Get started on a goal, just the action part of it, and check back with me for more about goals!