How to Set Breakthrough Goals (And deliver results)

articles how to set breakthrough goals leadership Nov 14, 2022

Breakthrough goal setting can change your leadership and change your life.
Let's first deal with the word ‘breakthrough’.
The nature of breakthroughs is often misunderstood because people think it's a better version of a goal.
But a breakthrough is not a better version of anything. It is, by definition, a break from the past. And to be effective as a leader, you need to know when and how to use the word breakthrough.
Most people resist a real breakthrough goal because they are not good at dealing with uncertainty. A breakthrough always has a sense that we don't know how to get there. That's why it would be a breakthrough. If it was just a kind of an improvement goal or a bigger goal or a better goal, then obviously, that's not a breakthrough. And those kinds of goals are very important as well.
I can have better goals; we should continually improve things as a general leadership philosophy. We want people to improve.
We want to elevate, we want to motivate, we want to inspire, and we want people to perform better, all of that.
But there may be certain areas of your business where we need a step change. We need to go from where we are today to somewhere we haven't been before. And that's a very creative conversation to have as a leader, both with yourself and others on your team.
It requires you to set up conversations with people. So they know that's the kind of goal-setting exercise you're engaged in. At this moment, in this
particular meeting, for the next 60 minutes or 30 minutes or whatever it is that you're looking at, we are going to have a conversation about doing something we have never done before…. And then people can adapt your mindset.
You want to invite your team to know from the beginning that we won't immediately know the answers to how to reach these goals. And that's okay. Because that's actually what makes the goal a breakthrough. We will need to be creative and innovative and try on new conversations over time, where we will invent the pathways to realize these goals.
A breakthrough goal is more about the future-based solution than looking to the past for what you've already done. There's an old saying, “if I keep doing what I've always done, I'll keep getting what I've always got.” Therefore we can't have any breakthrough results from doing what we've always done before.
We need to try new things. That's the nature of a breakthrough goal. Too many organizations throw “breakthrough” around, and it becomes wallpaper people don't listen to them.
Great organizations of high performance and innovation have a profound relationship with the word breakthrough, and they only use it when they genuinely mean it.
A breakthrough goal is very different from an ordinary goal, and both are important. 95% of your goals in the company should be “regular” goals of improvement; 5% can be breakthroughs in nature.
Otherwise, people tune out the breakthrough language quickly, and everything becomes ordinary. Know the difference and invite others to the right breakthrough conversations with you!

Find more resources on leading your team to success here.

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