istock_golfersmall1When a golfer lines up a long drive, he or she will have three points of reference.

  • First is her ultimate goal, which may be the flag, the green or a spot on the fairway. As she prepares for the shot she needs to ensure that her club and her body are properly aligned so that the ball will go where she planned.
  • The second point of reference is an interim goal. It is difficult to focus on an object 300 yards away, and so the golfer picks a spot just a few yards ahead of him that is in line with his ultimate objective. He can then feel confident that if he swings in the direction of his interim objective, the ball will have a good chance of reaching his end goal.
  • Third, is the ball itself. As he takes the shot, the golfer is focused on the ball, ensuring that he hits it cleanly. As long as he is already confident that he is set up properly for the shot, he can give the ball his full attention.

Similarly, business leaders must ensure that they are set up properly for the actions they take. They need to be clear on where they are ultimately trying to reach and what interim goals will tell them they are on the right track. Only then do they have the reference points for effective ongoing decision-making.

How confident are you that the decisions you are currently taking are in line with your short-term goals and will also help your business achieve its long-term ambitions?

© Stuart Cross 2009. All rights reserved.