When I was a kid one of my regular household responsibilities was to keep the garage clean. This included the lovely task of sweeping the floor to keep it clean of dust or anything else you wouldn’t want tracked inside the house.
In general, it was a drag, and the task was also used as punishment for
over achieving bad behavior a time or two. And those instances are what I’d like to focus on.
When my mom gave the marching orders to go to the garage, it wasn’t necessarily because she wanted the garage cleaned, but more so because she wanted me to spend time doing something I disliked in hopes that it would prompt me to rethink my behavior.
But then, one day, I had the most genius thought.
Instead of using the lousy broom to sweep the garage, I fired up the leaf blower and used it to blow out the garage. I finished in less than 60 seconds and couldn’t have been more proud of myself.
As I was putting the blower up I could hear my mom marching down the steps. She opened the door asked what I was doing. When I told her I blew out the garage, I could see that she found humor in the situation, but she was also frustrated because I hadn’t “learned my lesson.”
The example with my mom is a simple way to show how people can have different goals. Let’s transition out of my childhood garage and focus on how knowing the goal is crucial to your success.
In business, when you don’t clearly understand your clients goals, bad things can happen, and it’s very unfortunate.
You spend your time and energy accomplishing something you think is awesome, but when the end result is presented to a client, they seem less than impressed. When this happens, your client, even if it’s an internal facing client, will instantly start to discount your ability, and your value can quickly be reduced.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you represent a fashion brand that has an amazing new coat. You then put a image of the coat on the clients Facebook page and it gets 5,000 likes. And you’re like, “OMG! I can’t believe this coat got 5,000 likes in less than three hours.”
You then call your client to give them the great news. As you wait for their equally excited response, you are met with a… “meh.”
Why in the world would the client not be excited? Because you are focused on the number of Facebook likes, whereas they see a photo of a coat that doesn’t include a link to purchase it. Meaning, your 5,000 likes has driven virtually no traffic to their website. It’s a massive fail.
Set it Straight
At the beginning of every project you need to set clear goals.
These goals help guide your decisions along the way, and can, at times, make hard decisions suddenly become very easy. When you’re wanting to allocate $X for a shiny new widget, you can step back and figure out how the widget lines up with the project goal. If it doesn’t, you better heavily consider not allocating the funds.
Know the business goals, and then plan to meet or exceed them. But no matter what, make sure you have the “right” goals in mind.
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