5. They Set SMART Goals
Goal setting is a powerful tool for productivity. Goals keep you focused on what lies ahead. It helps you chart a course of action so you can keep forward progress.
When you consistently accomplish goals you:
- Move forward
- Feel more confident
- Expand your competency
But for you to accomplish goals, these must be SMART goals:
- S- Specific: “What do I want to accomplish?”
- M- Measurable: “What is the proof the goal has been accomplished?”
- A – Attainable: “Is the goal within reach?”
- R- Realistic: “Is the goal within my current capacity?”
- T- Timely: “When should I expect to reach my goal?”
If you currently weigh 300 pounds, would it be a SMART goal to lose 120 pounds at the end of the month?
If you say, “Yes” then how do you propose to accomplish it when the medically recommended weight loss target is 20% of your body weight in 6 months?
Goals that are not SMART set dangerous precedents. People resort to short cuts or unscrupulous practices to circumvent the normal course of events or procedure just to reach their goals.
99.9% of the time they will fail.
Should the 0.01% succeed, the next question is “At what cost?”
When you set SMART goals, you can plan everything that you need to do because there will be:
- Bases for your goals
- References to review
- Realistic precedents
- Quantifiable targets
- Established benchmarks
Thus, you will not waste time.
6. They Never Stop Learning
What do Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg; two of the richest men in the world and among its most iconic business leaders have in common other than having more than a billion dollars?
They both read books.
The story goes that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook posed a question to his followers. He asked them to suggest an activity for him other than work. One follower mentioned that Bill Gates reads 50 books a year; almost one book per week!
The follower challenged Zuckerberg to read one book a month. Zuckerberg accepted and had gone on to say it was one of the best decisions he ever made in his life. He said he has always wanted to learn more about the history and the culture of other countries but “never had the time.”
Today Zuckerberg says he reads about 25 books a year and makes recommendations to his followers.
Why do these two widely successful, wealthy-beyond-dreams gentlemen take time in the day to read books?
Bill Gates says, “I do not know everything.”
Gates has no plans of becoming “All-Knowing” but he believes the process of learning should never end. It was through his reading endeavors that he found inspiration in helping less fortunate areas develop potable water.
And learning is not limited to reading. Every time you learn a new skill, you become better.
Learn a musical instrument, learn a new sport, learn a new hobby; whatever it is as long it is productive and contributes to your personal growth it will always be time well spent.
7. They Develop Leaders
The most successful people in the world understand they could never have succeeded on their own. They need people around them – right-fit people. These are the ones who subscribe to their values, purpose, and vision.
When you realize you do not know everything and are incapable of doing everything yourself, the best recourse is to delegate these duties to people. By doing so, you are still able to allocate time to matters that require your expertise and experience.
As earlier mentioned, understanding our weaknesses opens up opportunities for people whose strengths are in fact our weak points. It is not enough to merely hand out these opportunities to them; they have to be held accountable.
Accountability develops a strong sense of responsibility. You assume the risk for the project, task or department. It sinks or swims with the decisions you make. When you have acknowledged this reality, you will be able to focus more clearly.
In ways, it is similar to a soldier who is oriented on the very real possibility of death on the combat field. Once this has been accepted, the soldier can fight at a higher level.
I mentioned Tony Hsieh earlier. Tony implemented the principle of Holacracy in Zappos. In a Holacracy, there are no managers only people. Everyone is responsible for their area or circle. Hsieh has adopted this business model because he believes it helps identify future leaders.
Leaders are people who are willing to accept accountability for their actions and thus, able to lead their people into prosperity. Thus, even when you are attending to matters requiring your attention you continue to value time by using it to develop leaders.