Raging storms, day-to-day chaos — how to plot the right course in 2021 and beyond.

Many will remember 2020 as the year of Covid. 

I’ll remember it as the year of Chaos…

The year where yesterday’s plans were constantly sabotaged by today’s events.

The year where making progress was damn bloody hard.

After all, it’s hard to plan & win when the rules of the game are in flux….

  • Businesses are forced to shut or operate under restrictions
  • Colleagues and friends are struggling
  • Schools are closed
  • Support systems are removed
  • Teams are scattered to the wind….
  • Communication is remote and virtual.

Give all of this….

What approach should leaders and teams have to planning?

Stop making plans? 

Work day-to-day?

Give in?  — “just go with the flow.

Given the year we’ve had, it would be easy to retreat to this laid-back mindset. When I’ve been experiencing peak chaos, I’ve been tempted to do just ‘that’.

But as you know….Our business wins aren’t achieved in giant leaps, they’re achieved in small steps.

This year, focusing on small steps (like writing a blog post), has been the most we could manage — and doing so, helped us reduce stress and overwhelm.

But…and it’s a BIG BUT….

If you want small steps to make a dent….

If you seek to achieve more with every effort your team makes….

You must keep the bigger picture in mind. Otherwise, your small steps will become disconnected from your goals and dreams…

Best-case scenario: your small steps achieve very little.

Worse case scenario: your small steps work against you, blocking your progress, and moving you further away from your goals and dreams.

Now, you might think… 

“We’d love to focus on big goals, but there’s so much craziness going on.”

I get it.

It’s tough to focus right now.

However, when you’re in the middle of a raging storm, it’s critical that you set the right course — so you can avoid hazards, and move towards your dream destination.

With all the storms that battered us this year (2020), and with the many storms yet to come, it’s vital that you’re leading from the front and shaping your destiny.

How you do it?

By having absolute clarity on your North Star Goals.

(Aside: Ancient mariners used the brightest star, the North Star, to navigate and reach their goals.)

North Star Goals

Do you know your business’s North Star goals?

You might believe your top-level goals are things like:

  • Getting to No.1 in Google Search Results in Five Years
  • Opening a new office in France. 

Yet, goals like these aren’t top-levels goals. They’re a way of achieving your North Star goals. They are tactics.

Now you might be thinking….

“There’s nothing wrong with trying to top Google’s search results.”

I agree, there’s nothing wrong with that intention. 

However, a lot can change in five years.  For example, Googling is less popular than it was five years ago. It’s trending down.

Graph showing that Google Search is trending down in popularity.

Given the pace of technical change, it’s not inconceivable that Google Search could be replaced by an alternative….

  • Amazon Echo
  • YouTube Search
  • Social Media Channel
  • Something else

Or that in five-years time, getting to the top of Google Search may no longer hold value. 

Imagine if you invested five years (of blood/sweat/tears) getting to #1 on Google — only to find out the goal you had been chasing was worthless.

That would be a massive waste of resources and your time, wouldn’t it?

Teams can avoid costly pitfalls, by….

  • Going beyond tactics. Especially tactics that will be destroyed by shifting sands of time.
  • Digging deep and discovering your true North Star goals.

How to discover your North Star goals

Discovering your true goals is simple (but not easy).

To uncover them, your team must ask and answers some hard questions, including:

  • What truly matters to the business?
  • How can we move the business needle?
  • What’s the best use of resources?
  • Will the biggest impact be created by X or Y ?
  • Do roadblocks make A and B unrealistic?
  • Are we creating artificial limits on what we can achieve?
  • Which goals should we prioritise?
  • Is this our true goal, or is the real goal something deeper?

(Aide: You might think you know your true business goals, but from my experience, many teams don’t know their true goals)

If you serious about getting goal clarity, you’ll must set aside 3-6 hours with your team to have a discussion and start getting clarity in your goals.

That may sound like an enormous investment of your time.

However, you need to realise that….

Setting high-impact, time-resistant goals requires investment. You can’t just flip a switch and get these goals. You need to spend time exploring and discovering what your business should be. If you do this, you’ll be able to set Dynamite Goals…

  • Goals that ensure day-to-day work is valuable.
  • Goals that outlive technology and trends.

The harsh reality of discovering true goals

Discovering your deepest goals is harder than you might think.  

Why do teams struggle with getting clarity on their goals? 

Because it’s hard to see the wood for the trees, when you see the same bloomin’ trees. Every. Single. Day.

You might enjoy being the supreme ruler of your business, but when you’re wrapped up in day-to-day business activities, it’s hard to strip away the noise, and get that big picture perspective. 

And remember, this is no ordinary perspective, this powerful viewpoint, gives your team powerful clarity and focus.

To get big picture clarity, do this….

  1. Accept the need to get some big picture perspective on your biggest goals
  2. Set time aside to have these deep conversations with your team (remove the burden by trying to do it all by yourself)
  3. Step outside of your normal situation – it’s easy to fall into ‘work’ habits when you’re in your day-to-day groove.
  4. Get as outsider (with a fresh perspective) to ask you the right questions — questions that reveal your deepest goals.

If you need help discovering your business’s true goals…send me a message, I can help you uncover them.


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