Want success? Take these five steps and reap huge rewards!

It doesn’t matter if you are trying to achieve personal success or you are a corporation trying to reach your peak performance potential; using the five step SPEAR method will greatly increase your chances of successful goal attainment. It’s simple to understand simple to use, and best of all, the highest achievers and most successful companies all do the same things.

Like the tip of a spear, the power of any great plan is getting to the point. What is the exact result you hope to achieve? Your goal should be focused, detailed, and clear enough so that anyone reading it understands exactly what your objectives are.

Set a Goal
It doesn’t matter who you are; top-level athletes, successful business-people and peak performance achievers in all fields use goal setting strategies. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your ability to acquire knowledge and helps you to manage your time and your resources so that you can get the very best results for your efforts.

Napoleon Hill said that “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” The difference between dreams and goals is that goals have a roadmap, a plan, a path to attainment. Every goal must have a plan.

Put Together a Plan
The great American baseball player, coach, and manager, Yogi Berra said, “If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.” For many people, the urge to jump right to action after setting a goal is strong. Since most people are action oriented, this is a fairly normal behavior. Unfortunately, this behavior can be costly and often leads to failure of goal attainment. Honestly, it’s more fun just to get going on something. Dive right in they said…the water is great. What they forgot to tell you is that the water is shallow too! In that situation, the consequences of a "dive" versus a "jump" could be catastrophic.

On an individual level, of the 14% of the population that sets goals, only 3% create a plan to achieve those goals. This is the number one reason that most people fail at their New Year’s resolutions; 92% in fact. On a business level, upwards of 50% of businesses fails in their first five years of operation. Among the top factors contributing to those failures is the inability to plan.

Even among more established small businesses, the founders often lack the vision to realize that operating in a “business as usual mode” doesn’t work forever. Their inability to create new strategic or tactical plans often leads to stagnation or decline in the business. Setting goals and strategies is so important that nearly half the chapters in Michael Gerber’s best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited, which deals with reasons small businesses fail, covers goal setting and strategic planning.

Proper planning is everything. Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree I’d spend four hours sharpening my ax.” The opposite can occur, too much planning leads to “paralysis by analysis.” People can spend an inordinate amount of time “getting ready to get ready.” In the end, it doesn’t need to be complex or complicated; just complete.

And, no plan is really complete if it isn’t executed on. Now the fun begins!

Execute the Plan
Execution is where the “rubber meets the road.” Many people are comfortable planning but lag when it comes to putting the plan into action. A Harvard Business Review study of over 1000 companies in 50+ countries found that employees at three out of five companies rated their organization as weak at execution. Honestly, this piece is almost more important than the planning piece. George S. Patton said it best, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

Getting into action doesn’t mean that you move with abandon. It means that you review your plan and take action as soon as possible. Energy creates energy and moving forward with your plan in a methodical manner allows you to experience all that comes with accomplishment; setbacks, challenges, plan re-adjustment, and incremental results.

But executing on a plan isn’t enough. Otherwise companies wouldn’t be achieving only 63% of their expected goals. This occurs because of poor execution, and the greatest contributor to this is the shift of focus of the strategy. A plan that get written and never revisited is better off not written at all. Plan review is an iterative process that allows for review, recognition of what works and what doesn’t work, and reconciliation of the process to adjust as necessary. Other factors that lead to poor execution are resistance to change (what we have works well) as well as cultural issues (we’ve never done it that way before). But if the individual or the organization can get past these issues, goals will be achieved.

Achieve Results
It’s great to get rewarded. In most cases, the carrot is a more powerful motivator of long term behavior than the stick. This should be the best part right? Well it may be the best part but sometimes it is not the easiest. The key in this segment is patience. One must have realistic expectations about the scope and timing of any rewards attained from goal achievement. In many instances, large projects with long timelines will show little reward or progress until the end.

Incremental growth is very powerful. Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a month but underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. Extraordinary things happen in small increments. Most of the world’s greatest accomplishments occur through a process of incremental learning, improvement and goal attainment. Those individuals, organizations, and companies that strive to reach their highest levels of peak performance understand this simple yet powerful process.

One of the best ways to employ incremental growth is to break down large tasks into small ones. Ideally, this is handled in the planning stage. Successful goal attainment is not just about going through the steps of the plan. Along the way, you have to stay motivated; especially when the payout is longer term. In these instances, one needs to only look to old saying for direction.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Having a project plan broken into smaller tasks and deliverables serves two purposes. It allows for intrinsic rewards to be enjoyed for the completion of small tasks completed and it allows the ability to make real-time modifications to the plan as results come in. Inch by inch it’s a cinch. Yard by yard it’s really hard!

Finally, as the plan comes to fruition, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and go out and do it again!

Repeat the Process with a New Goal
So how do Peak Performers accomplish extraordinary things? They are dedicated to commit to ongoing development. Peak Performers and world class organizations practice development/growth techniques or activities every day. They have a development plan in place and they work towards accomplishing that plan on a daily basis. They repeat the use of successful processes over and over again to change, grow, and get better at whatever they are doing.

Set a Goal
Put Together a Plan
Execute the Plan
Achieve Results
Repeat the Process with a New Goal

The biggest reason most people don’t ever try to do anything extraordinary in their lives is because they see the task as too daunting. The use of SPEAR works for both businesses and individuals by breaking things down into manageable tasks resulting in greater success and goal attainment.

Amplify Your Results!

Dr. Richard B. Greene, DBA
Peak Performance Coach & Human Potential Expert


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