By Ross Hutchings
Executive Director, CAE, Child Support Directors Association (CSDA)
We all know about strategic planning and goal setting, developing business and operational plans. While reading several blogs and articles (CEO Coaching International; Leadership from the Core and The Start of Happiness), I came across an interesting concept that many extremely exceptional businesses have been using with great success at motivating and inspiring teams – that is to set Huge Outrageous Target or HOT. It is a goal that is so big and so outrageous that it “lights a fire in the entire team.” HOT is the one goal (at most two) that matters most to the organization – it gives direction and motives, and failure to achieve it makes all other accomplishments pale in comparison. The discipline of setting HOT helps keep the organization in check and the team focused on the absolute most-critical goal.
How would that work when LCSAs, as do many businesses, have so many different functions and moving parts? The key is to stay at the strategic level (most people that have heard me talk know I like to use the term 30,000 foot level), and don’t get into details or minutia. Also, if your HOT is too specific, it will most likely affect only one aspect of your LCSA.
Another important point when choosing your HOT, is to ask yourself, if you achieved this, will it deliver a huge impact on your organization, or your customers. When done right, it should reinforce your vision and set the tone for your organizational culture.
Four keys to achieving your HOT (or your super goal):
- You and every member of your team must believe you can achieve it
- The reward for achieving your HOT should be spread universally throughout the organization and should be large or important enough to motive all employees
- Develop a plan to achieve your HOT and execute it
- Create check points and a scoreboard to track your progress
HOT’s should be treated like any other goal. As we know from research 92% of goals are never achieved. No one likes to fall short of their goals. To help us be part of the 8% achievers, here are some tried-and-true steps:
- Write down your HOT or goal – “A goal not written is only a wish”
- Link your HOT or goal to a higher purpose – show the end result – is it motivating?
- Create specific strategy – “Without strategy – execution is aimless”
- Develop an action plan – “Without execution – strategy is useless”
- High, yet achievable goal – Low expectations lead to underachievement, high expectations lead to higher performance but unrealistic expectations lead to demotivation and lack of progress
Finally, to make HOTs work, you must have accountability. Developing a scoreboard is a good visual indicator for the whole team but holding regular (weekly or bi-weekly) meetings holds individuals accountable for their part in achieving the HOT. Here, specific weekly (or bi-weekly) goals are reported on and new ones set. It is a way to incrementally move an organization forward.
Organizational goals are great because they set the path for the future. But setting the HOT(s) (super goal) along with measurable steps provides the drive to succeed. Setting goals is like picking cherries, creating your HOT is making a cherry pie!