Renewing Company Goals Can Make You More Successful–Here’s Why

Set high standards for your business, even if that means changing goals.

How are your New Years resolutions holding up? If you’ve started skipping the gym or had a glass during Dry January, don’t beat yourself up. Failure is part of the process. If you’ve miscalculated a goal, don’t get demoralized and give up on the intention. Instead, refocus. In your personal life and in business, it’s OK to revise your goals so long as you’re learning in the process.

Setting the goals for your business can be complicated. How do you strike a balance between goals you can reasonably reach and stretch goals that will help drive you forward? How do you grow into new markets or products while keeping the core of your business healthy? How will you communicate those goals to the people in a position to help you reach them, and how will you make them relevant for everyone else?

I advise setting stretch goals and overpromising. Personally, it helps me to get more done. But setting the standard very high for yourself or your business means you may have to face at least partial failure pretty often. Everyone faces failure differently, but to me, that’s OK. The lessons and growth failure provides are invaluable. Recognizing your own expectations and efforts–and setting another high goal–are more important than exceeding a lofty goal.

Communicate goals and progress regularly.

Even at smaller businesses where the entire team is local to one office, it takes effort to make your goals visible and continually report on incentives tied to them. If individual team members aren’t (yet) helping you move toward your goal, don’t keep that information to yourself. They may be ready to set new resolutions, too, with the right support and encouragement.

In larger companies, each team or department may set expectations for itself and its members, (hopefully) aligned with the company’s overall direction. If that direction needs to change, those expectations and incentives may suddenly be less aligned. You’re steering the ship, but the crew needs to know when the direction has changed.

At 600 employees, Kabbage is a complex web of minds and unique contributions, each necessary to the success of the company. Part of my job as co-founder is to communicate what those goals are during the year and be transparent and communicative about how those goals are being realized (or not).

For us, we summarize corporate goals and our progress in a monthly email to the full team. We then reiterate our performance at Town Hall meetings where anyone in the company has the opportunity to ask questions.

If you’re revising your resolutions, don’t forget to share your new goals, and any adjusted incentives, with your team. You’re not admitting failure, you’re updating them on the new plan for success. Effective communication of company goals, well beyond the leadership team, can help everyone feel like they’re pulling in the same direction.

When it comes to incentives, don’t overthink it.

Dozens of books and journal articles promise to explain how to motivate your employees to help you meet your (new and evolving) goals. We use shorthand from personality tests (“ENTJs need confidence-builders and unconditional encouragement “) or generation characteristics (“Millennials need autonomy and purpose”) to predict what drives others.

However, it’s a universal truth in business: people show up because you pay them. If you stop paying them, they’ll stop showing up.

I’m a big believer in bonuses and profit-sharing to distribute and communicate our responsibility for meeting goals. Like other companies our size, we provide annual bonuses to our team based on our achievement of company goals: sometimes we payout in full or partially depending on our progress.

As a small business owner, if you’re in a position to reward in this way, it is a great function to build incentives around company goals.

Remember, you can start again whenever you want.

I’ve never held grudges. Not as a kid, not in romance, not in business. If you do something terrible or fail me, I’m generally pretty willing to start over. It’s the same with goals: it doesn’t feel like a failure if we keep making progress. Coming up short sometimes tells me we’re keeping standards and productivity high.

So don’t get discouraged by the goals if you’ve fallen behind on your New Year’s resolution or your 5-year-plan. Make a February resolution, and one again in March or May if you need to. Keep setting high standards for what you and your business can be. It’s the only way to grow.


You Can Attack Your Day, or You Can Let Your Day Attack You

Want to achieve your goals? Go out and attack your day, before it attacks you.

By Dustin McKissen

Founder and CEO, McKissen + Company


Starting your own company is really, really hard. Entrepreneurship is lonely, your odds of making it are slim–and when you do achieve success?

Get ready.

In some ways, the stress of holding on to what you’ve built can be just as significant as the stress of building it in the first place.

In the end, though, building a business is a challenge entrepreneurs willingly embrace.

What about the challenges we never see coming?

What about the challenges we never asked for?

What about an unexpected illness in your family? Or a disease you never saw coming? Or the stress that comes from family in general? What about an unexpected job loss? Or the stress that comes just from scrolling through your newsfeed?

Regardless of the challenges you wake up to, you have two choices:

You can attack your day.

Or you can let your day attack you.

There is no third option.

You can choose to let your life or your community crumble beneath you, or you can roll up your sleeves and do something about it. You can wonder why everyone else gets the opportunities you wish you had, or you can do whatever it takes to grab a few of those opportunities for yourself. You can lay blame for your challenges at the feet of whoever it is you think is responsible–or you can realize that the first sign of weakness is telling someone else why it’s their fault that your life didn’t turn out the way you hoped.

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Winter Innovation Summit at the Sorenson Impact Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The focus was on Opportunity Zones. If you are unfamiliar with OZs, the term comes from a provision within the late-2017 tax legislation that encourages investment in economically challenged communities.

Why would anyone find tax policy inspirational?

Because throughout the event, leader after leader stepped on stage to explain why they refuse to accept the reality they were given, refuse to blame anyone else for their challenges, and instead rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

It was a lesson in what can happen when entire communities attack their day, and it was a lesson all of us should take to heart, regardless of what we do for living.

Our individual challenges can break us, and a collection of broken people creates broken communities, broken societies, and a broken world.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

And it won’t be that way, so long as you attack your day, rather than letting your day attack you.