From Vision to Reality: Significant Steps to Success

chekhovIf the most important aspect of future success in business is having a Vision that provides you with focus and clarity, then the gift of realisation of your Vision comes packaged as Goals leading to Action. As always, it is best to learn from those who have gone before, those who already have achieved success. There is a formula, a combination of steps which must be followed in a particular way. Sounds complicated? It doesn’t have to be! Try the following.

  • Step 1: Define the Primary Goals

In order for you to achieve your Vision, which really should set the course for your business for the next three to five years at least, there are probably three major goals that need to be achieved. Think about them. Know them. Develop them in detail. Write them down. Leave them a while. Come back and review them. If they don’t excite you, get you energised and make you want to just “jump in and get started”, you may not have the right goals specified. Re-visit, review and revise until you are certain that you have clarity on your primary goals, goals that you are happy to commit to.

Once you are sure that you have the right goals, prioritise them. For me, the simplest way is to answer the question: If I could achieve only one of these goals, which one would it be? That usually pushes one to the top.

“Goals are dreams with deadlines”

Diana Scharf Hunt

When considering whether something that you want to achieve is a goal or not, management literature will throw up the “SMART” Goal approach. Goals must be:

  1. Simple: Easily defined, easily understood.
  2. Measurable: There must be a way to measure progress and achievement.
  3. Achievable: The goals must be capable of being achieved.
  4. Realistic: Goals must be realistic relative to resources and timeframe.
  5. Time-bound: It is critical that Goals have defined timescales.
  •  Step 2: Define the key milestones on the route to achieve the primary goal.

The answer to the old question: “How do you eat an elephant?” still remains “One bite at a time!” Any major goal or objective can appear overwhelming if looked upon as a single task. If broken down into stages which must be completed it becomes more manageable.

Ensure that there is a system in place to measure progress towards the milestones. Take the time to celebrate achievements when key milestones are reached.

  • Step 3: Strategies for implementation

Given that the goals and the milestones are clear, it is even more important that the specific strategies to be followed are considered, developed and put in place. What are the ways in which the milestones are going to be achieved? It is imperative that efforts applied are not haphazard but are focused on the key objectives to be achieved. Strategies selected will require a full range of resources including physical, financial and personnel. Ideal strategies will both minimise the resources required and the risks taken.

  • Step 4: Plan the detail

With goals, milestones and strategies developed, it is appropriate to have a tactical plan of action. This will break down the specific individual activities and time-frames, from years to months, to weeks and even to days, whatever is the appropriate level. It includes defining responsibilities and accountabilities on key deliverables. Incidentally, somewhere within the plan, the element of fun and enjoyment must be catered for.

  • Step 5: Take Massive Action

The best of plans are for naught if they are not followed by action. The discipline of getting into action on a day by day basis, focused on short-term/mid-range objectives to help achieve your Vision will be what makes the difference. If the primary goal is properly defined and set out, then it is imperative that action towards that objective is taken on a daily basis.

  • Step 6: Information, Feedback & Revision

No matter how well planned an objective is, things change. The only sure thing about any plan that is developed and presented is that it is not going to proceed exactly as foreseen. A system of checks and balances is required.

  • Step 7: Review, Refine and Repeat the Process

Business is dynamic: constantly and ever changing. By the time you have achieved the key goals and objectives, a whole new vista will have presented itself. Thus, the need for constant vigilance, feedback and revision is paramount. Learn from each review: enjoy what you have achieved and change target as required. By the time the key objectives are achieved, your Vision will have changed. And so the cycle continues.

As proposed, follow the seven step process set out above. Even better, let me know how effective this combination of steps is in enabling you to develop a process around establishing and attaining the goals and objectives required to achieve your stated vision. The old adage of “a stitch in time saves nine” is really what developing and implementing a planned system of achievement is all about.

Know that the vast majority of people grossly over-estimate what they will achieve within one year, but grossly under-estimate what they will achieve in a decade.

As always, I wish you every success and happiness that you wish for yourself.