How to get back on track

Goal-setting is a key part of business success. If you don’t know what you want to achieve it’s very hard to decide what to do!

Once you’ve got your well-formed outcome, the next step is usually to work out a strategy to achieve your outcome.

So, if the outcome is to increase sales by 10%, then it’s likely that the strategy will involve extra sales conversations, incentives or networking. If the outcome is to increase motivation and morale in your team, then the strategy might include more one-to-ones and more good quality feedback. If it’s a personal goal like running a half-marathon then the strategy will involve regular workouts and a running plan.

But what happens if you don’t succeed in taking the actions required by your strategy? It’s not uncommon to begin a project full of enthusiasm and then get distracted, demotivated or demoralised and go off track.

You don’t just stop making progress towards your goal but sometimes you can start heading in completely the wrong direction.

So you need a recovery strategy. (Nothing to do with economic regeneration!)

Your recovery strategy is what you do when you realise that you’ve gone off track, stop making progress or become discouraged.

A recovery strategy is best devised at the same time as creating the well-formed outcome and the strategy for achieving it. It’s MUCH harder to do when you’re feeling discouraged or demoralised and if you’re distracted you might not realise that you need to do it!

The recovery strategy might include intensive activity to make up lost ground, or it might mean consulting with a coach or mentor. It might simply be about reminding yourself of the outcome and its significance.

Its purpose is to get you back on track easily, without tears or tantrums and without delay.

The reason that most New Year’s Resolutions fail is for the lack of a recovery strategy. How many times has someone committed to a diet and stuck to it for some weeks or months, but then been tempted by something that should not have been on the menu? And how often does that herald the end of the diet completely?

Many people make the mistake of thinking that if they are truly committed to their goal then they will never stray from the plan. Then when it happens, they compound the problem by assuming that they cannot succeed, because of a single lapse in progress.

If you acknowledge the potential pitfalls when you make your original plan, and you devise a strategy for getting back on track, you seriously increase your chances of achieving your goal.

And this also applies to your big corporate initiatives. It’s not ‘negative thinking’ to identify the places where you could go off track, and have a plan in place to handle it – just in case.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? It seems like good management practice.

But the real beauty of a recovery strategy is the extra confidence it will give you. With a recovery strategy in place you no longer have to consider the possibility of failure, because you know exactly what you’re going to do to get back on track if something goes wrong.

It’s invaluable.