“There’s a difference between dissatisfaction and a continual striving to grow and stretch your wings.”
~ Debra Hilton
Why Moving the Goalposts is a Good Thing
Recently, I attended a quarterly planning session at a client’s office and we were discussing the benefits of 3-month vs 4-month sprints for businesses. The rationale for the 4-mont sprint is that you add a month to ‘celebrate’ at the end of each sprint so you have time to take a breather.
I can see the appeal, but it’s really a gimmick to sell a different approach. You see, what actually happens is that the chunks get bigger so you’re spending most of that fourth month playing catch-up in order to achieve the goal. Over the course of the year, you’re still setting the same targets as you would if you had 3-month segments instead of 4-month ones.
From my perspective the problem isn’t the length of the sprint, but the ‘frustration’ experienced by immediately setting new goals and never resting on your laurels. However, what would happen if you recognised that moving the goal posts was it’s own triumph?
That’s a mindset shift that sets creating and maintaining momentum at the centre of your business, so the shifting goalposts become a source of satisfaction rather than a source of frustration.
‘Potential’ is at the heart of growth and opportunity and it has to do with your latent capabilities – which expand with every skill, concept, and fact you master.
There is no cap on your potential – the very fact of growth means that there is always more ahead.
So… when you reach one milestone, there is another one ahead.
When you reach one goal, there is another goal ahead.
When you complete one marketing campaign, there is another one ahead.
Whether your goal is to ‘reach’, ‘achieve’, or ‘optimise’ your potential, you’re really committing to living life at full stretch in every area of life. That includes your:
- Skills… Etc.
Does this lead to a sense of dissatisfaction?
That’s your choice, really.
I spent four years living and working in Central Chad on the edge of the Sahel, one of the toughest inhabited environments to grow food on this earth. One of our projects was helping widows (who were right at the bottom of the food chain) build a sustainable livelihood. Every meal they put on the table was a triumph, and drove their determination to do better the next one. In the midst of hardship, there was a deep underlying sense of satisfaction and achievement that they were alive and able to fulfil their commitments to family and community even though they were always striving for the next goal.
From my observation, it seems that the ‘celebration’ month that is built into the 4-month sprint is either an excuse, or a drain on momentum, especially when it comes to marketing your business.
For staff, moving straight into a new campaign or initiative provides a chance to implement the learnings from the previous one and build on the trust and good will that you have built while it is still fresh in their mind.
For clients, it’s a matter of your continued visibility and relationship. One business was sending out monthly promotions to buyers on their database and quarterly promotions to less recent buyers. When they started sending out the monthly promotions to everyone rather than focusing on recent buyers only, their sales almost doubled, and when they added weekly emails and offers into the mix, sales accelerated again. It turned out that the more frequent contact was developing trust and preparing prospects to respond.
Their biggest challenge became creating products to sell.
the difference between ‘reaching’ and ‘optimising’ your potential.
Some interesting points surfaced, but at the end of the day it came back to one of the
Joy in the Journey
When success means survival (one more meal, one more client) you can’t afford to rest on your laurels and celebrate for a week, so your perspective means everything. For my clients, every win is a both celebration and challenge:
- Celebration of the achievement.
- Challenge to use the momentum.
Everything you achieve lays the groundwork for the next step… So there is satisfaction mixed in with your striving.
One of my clients decided last year that he was going to raise his average dollar sale from $1,500 to $3,000 by 30th December. He did that and it has transformed his business stability. By 30th June his goal is to increase that amount again. He’s satisfied with what he has already achieved, but it’s opened his eyes to the possibilities ahead of him so now the challenge of growth is part of the work of creation and development and it’s just as powerful when you’re measuring your growth in thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars as it is when it’s one more meal, one more month of school, or one more dose of medicine – because those dollars represent lives enriched and changed.
That’s what I love to see, rather than: “I’ve achieved X and now I’m going to rest on my laurels.”
When you’re making a difference, why would you stop?
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