Over the years I have heard a lot of debate about the best starting point to use when setting goals. Begin with the ultimate vision? Begin with an analysis of current conditions to identify opportunities? Like a ship’s sail in fickle winds, the prevailing view has shifted one direction, then turned back again.
I thought of this recently as I worked a jigsaw puzzle.
When working the puzzle, I could pick up each piece and compare it to every other piece until I hit a match. But what a laborious, boring, and inefficient process! We work puzzles by looking at the big picture on the box, the ultimate goal, then organizing our small actions to promote that larger goal.
The same is true of our businesses. We perform a “gap analysis”. We address the questions:
- where do I want to be?
- where am I now?
- what do I have to do to cross the gap?
Last week I led a group in learning to use the tools of Get Clients Now, the book by master coach C. J. Hayden. An essential step in the program is to determine how much business you have now, consider how much you really want, and then map out the steps needed to cross that gap.
- Know where you are.
- Be clear about where you’d like to be.
- Identify steps you believe will advance you over the gap.
- Measure your progress.
- Adjust your plan based on your findings.
As they say on the shampoo bottle, lather, rinse, repeat.
What’s the picture you’re aiming for? What pieces do you have to work with? What steps have you taken? What steps would you like to take next? Comment here.
(Note: the puzzle pictured is available at Jigsaw Java, a very nifty puzzle and coffee bar. Owner Mary Albitz welcomes fellow puzzle fanatics as well as the occasional puzzle enthusiast – like me- at her shop in downtown Redwood City, CA. And puzzles are available by mail. This particular puzzle, by Connections Puzzles, is part of a chakra series by artist Paul Heusssenstamm.)