If you've analyzed your goals, diligently planned, and put things into action, you're well on your way to success. But there is still a road ahead. The most difficult aspect of goals is managing your progress while attempting to achieve them. For all that you've anticipated, you might still be surprised by problems, and then there is the daily slogging that happens for any long-term intent. As leader, you need to ensure that one foot continues to step in front of the other.
You develop metrics so you can monitor performance. When there is a fairly objective measurement, you use the corresponding number to see how you're doing. When the interest is more subjective, such as group morale or the strength of a product brand, it may be difficult to find numeric measures (though you'd be surprised how often you actually can).
Sometimes you'll ask for reports from people. Other times you might be able to take the measurements yourself. The important thing is to get information so you can compare your performance with what you wanted to achieve in enough time that, should something go wrong, you can take corrective action.
Making Necessary Adjustments
Almost no progress happens in a straight line without deviation or delay. That is part of life. At times, progress on your goal will not meet your expectations. There are two actions you should take every time something like this happens.
First, examine your plan and how you are trying to reach the goal. It might be that what you thought would work won't, but with some modifications your plan can still put things right. Next, look again at the goal and ask yourself if it is realistic. Have you bitten off more than you can chew? If so, do you need to scale it back? Will it simply take more time?
Be flexible in your goal making and management. Adjusting a goal to something that is difficult but possible — like swimming the English Channel — is better than sticking to something amazing but impossible, like swimming the Arctic Ocean. Throughout the process, understand that change is part of life. Being the imperfect mortals we are, we should not hold our first intentions sacrosanct just because they were the first to come to mind.
You can run into a conflict between goals or between the team's goals and the personal desires of the team members. These conflicts generally come down to a lack of ordering. When you treat all goals as equally important, you can't get any done; there is as strong a reason to do A as there is to do B, C, or D. The minute you pick a goal, you've started imposing order, but you need to keep the peace.
When you do have the occasional fender bender, take a step back. Which goal is more important or more pressing? Can you make progress on both through a little reordering of their parts? What is the nature of the conflict — scheduling, resources, or something more fundamental? Depending on the answers, getting everything back to normal could be easy, or it could drive you to distraction.
If the latter, you'll have to take a step back with your team, and perhaps with others in the organization, and decide on the appropriate priorities. It might be that one goal will have to give way, at least for a time, to another. Principles might have changed, and a goal might now be superfluous. Find a strategy that has the best fit with where the team should be and do as you must regarding the goal. Remember, it's ultimately the principles and mission of the team that are important. No goal is more important than those, so if you need to modify or even cut a goal, do it.