“My goal is to build an institution similar to the ones that had carried me through the first three decades of my life.”
Sounds like a big goal. That statement drove this person to become the founder of one of the most successful and outstanding corporations in the world today.
That was Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon in 1994. Yes, Amazon was his big goal.
Now regardless of what you think about Amazon or big business, I want you to focus on the concept of the big goal as you read this article.
You may wonder, “How would a 30-year old transition from leaving a high paying job to building a system that hadn’t been invented yet?”
Of course, it looks like an impossibility. In fact, maybe there were self-doubts. However, that would not stop the company from achieving its big goal. Though the company nearly went bankrupt in 2002, it went from a simple online bookstore to becoming a multi-corporation and one of the largest e-commerce giants in the world.
Amazon has redefined buying and selling, interfacing with over 304 million customers daily.
Interestingly, the problems Jeff Bezos had to confront are as similar as yours while journeying to the big goal.
Here are three common problems many business leaders face when trying to achieve big goals.
As beautiful as the big goal is, many business leaders lack its ownership. They are not able to simplify the goal such that investors, partners, employees, and customers, buy into it. Without a clear outlook of the big goal, it isn’t easy to get the desired support, solidarity, and buy-in.
Even though you may have contributions that may not be measured, you need to have clear answers to questions relating to your big goal. You will need to streamline the goal into short, medium, and long term milestones, which help to measure small signs of progress made towards the big goal achievement. Trying to balance the long term goal with the short term may be difficult, so you need to deliver short term value now in order to earn freedom and grab bigger stakes in the future.
Staying educated, trained, skilled, and up-to-date remains an essential part of business today. Though it is intensive, both in resources and time expended, its effect on the long term is monumental to achieving the big goal.
The ever-evolving technology improvements and business changes must topics that a business leader stays on top of. You don’t want your big goal to have been bypassed by advances you were not aware of. So, to keep up, leaders must make the time for reading and learning, and is best if this is on a scheduled and regular basis.
Don’t Ignore the Business
When working to achieve a big goal, it is easy to have it become a sole focus. You need to be able to focus time on your big goal, all the while not abandoning your current business. This may seem dramatic, but I have seen well-meaning leaders get so involved in their new projects that they let their eye off their current business, the current cash cow, and come to regret it later.
While the excitement and challenge of the big goal are very seductive and can feel like it feeds your energy, the responsible thing to do is to do both in a measured way. If you want to devote yourself to your big goal, be sure to hand the operational reins of your other company (or companies) over to a responsible leader. This way you can devote yourself to your new big goal and have the peace of mind that your employees, customers, and business is operating with someone responsible focused on it.
If handing over responsibility is not something you want to or are able to do, consider a schedule by which you truly honour. Set aside part days or whole days during the week to devote to your big goal and ensure you keep to that schedule. You’ll have time for your existing businesses and time to work on your big goal.
Keep in mind, if it has been a while since embarking on a big goal, you may feel like you are not getting anywhere very fast at first, and that is OK. As they say, it is all part of the process.
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.