Yikes. Where does time go? We’re now officially halfway through the year. Are you halfway to your annual goals?

In 1996 I heard about a tremendously successful business owner in California. I flew to his office and spent the day studying his operation. I observed several things I could take back and use in my own.

At the end of the day I came straight out and asked him, “What do you think makes your operation exceptional?” Without hesitation he responded, “We have four good quarters.”

He went on to say, “I know what you do. You work hard all year long. Then in November and December you panic because there are areas in which you are lagging. I don’t play that game. I set my annual goals in January. In March we check to see if we are on pace. If we need to make adjustments, we make them immediately. We do the same thing in June and September. We enjoy the holidays at the end of the year.”

It is time for a gut check. It can be easy to become distracted from our goals. It’s not too late to make substantial changes in a business operation and become passionately focused on desired goals for this year.

Where do we begin?

  • See where you are – Hopefully you’ve defined the critical variables you’ll measure to determine whether 2009 is a success. Look at the trends for the last six months and see how your operation is doing.
  • Re-evaluate where you want to end up – In his book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.” We must mentally envision exactly what success looks like. Oswald Chambers said, “We always have a vision of something before it actually becomes real to us.” I know he wasn’t talking about business goals or a vision for my business but the statement still applies. I’ve had goals in writing that weren’t etched in my heart and therefore not being lived out in my life.
  • Educate/communicate – I didn’t build a successful business alone. It isn’t much fun working in a business when I’m the only person passionate about the goals. It’s my job to make sure everyone inside the organization has a very clear picture of what success looks like. They need to understand exactly where we are on every measure and how their daily activities contribute to the success of the business.
  • Measure and communicate again – Goals can’t be met if they’re only evaluated quarterly. Become determined to have gut checks on your business’ progress at least every other week. Share the numbers with everyone in the organization.

Finally, as you’re creating and living out your goals, make sure they’re well-rounded. My brother reminded me several years ago that he could see a tremendous drop in the productivity of his business when he stopped exercising. Put yourself back on your own “to do” list.