Goals versus Lean Doing

We all want to have successful businesses and projects. To do this, good practice dictates that we start by setting SMART goals. This is an absolutely sensible approach for life in general but what if we look at things a bit differently? It is as, if not more, important to focus on getting good systems of processes in place to get things done i.e. Lean Doing.

Hypothetically, if one completely ignored the goals and focused only on the system of processes, would one still get results?

If you are a business owner, your goal is to build a million pound business and your system to do so is your marketing and delivery process. If you ignored your goal (not, not have one) and focused on what your team does to sell and deliver, would you still get results? I believe you would.

This concept is similar to keeping a diary and realising after a few eventful years of your life that you have enough for a bestselling book. This is without setting out to write a book, which will have been a totally different journey. Your sole focus was on diary entries each day, every day and not a book in the end. Just thinking about the amounts required to fill a book will stress one out even before one has begun.

Sometimes, goals can be counteractive to longer-term advancement. When all of your hard work is focused on a particular goal, what is left to push you forward after you achieve it…or not achieve? Set even higher and tougher goals, when achievements has been attained or try harder, if not achieved. This contributes to huge motivational issues and the type of cycle that makes it difficult to further pursue progress for the long-term. This is a huge factor in many failed “initiatives”. Stopping the need for immediate results helps. Sometimes it is not about hitting a specific number but more about sticking to the process, a longer-term approach.

So, instead of just focusing on delivering the project on time and on budget, one concentrates on Lean Doing; putting things in place to deliver a good project e.g. strict adherence to look-aheads, weekly planning sessions, up-to-date procurement programmes in line with build sequences etc., and more often then not will one deliver on time with goal attainment to follow.

Goals are good for formation of progress but commitment to a good system of processes is good for actually making progress.

Goals can provide direction and goad you forward within a short time frame, but eventually a well-designed system of processes will always prevail. Having this system is vital and commitment to its processes is what will make the difference. Discipline and continuous improvement is the name of the game.