A Simple Formula for Achievement

There appears to be a massive achievement gap in our country.  The large number of people that have a big goal to accomplish dwarfs the small number of those that actually achieve it.  Working with many startups and high-performance leaders over the years, I’ve observed a pattern that is followed by those who rack up the biggest wins.  Here is the five-step process followed by the most successful people in order to consistently deliver:

Step 1: Set a crystal clear, feasible goal.  The best-of-the-best set 90-day goals that are challenging yet achievable.  If your vision is grander than a three-month sprint will allow, break the big, long-term goal into 90-day chunks that you can get your arms around.  Get in the habit of winning, and you’ll build a reservoir of confidence to help you conquer subsequent bursts of effort.

Step 2: Commit.  Vague goals with no specific plans to reach them are simply “wishes.”  Once the goal is set, take personal responsibility for hitting it.  No excuses, no distractions, no BS.  Your commitment to yourself and others should be a sacred bond that is unbreakable.  Share the goal widely, which will help hold you accountable for reaching it.

Step 3: Build a plan to significantly over-deliver the goal.  A big pitfall for many people is that they only plan to barely reach their target.  With zero margin for error, it’s no wonder why so many of us consistently miss.  Build a plan with plenty of contingency so you can sustain a speed bump or two without falling short.  In other words, if everything goes perfectly, you’ll blow your plan away.  Break your goal into small chunks of behaviors that will lead to ensuring your victory.

Step 4: Track daily progress. Tally up your daily behaviors as well as your progress and results.  Continuous measurement drives urgency, focus, and persistence and helps you hold yourself and your team accountable. You’ll quickly see what’s working and what’s not, so you can adjust your plan as needed.

Step 5: Course-correct early and often.  Based on your daily measurements, take corrective actions as soon as you can.  The sooner you can make refinements, the more time you’ll have for the new plan to take effect.  Coming from behind is always tough, so make sure you’re adapting in real-time.

Simple and intuitive advice that is surprisingly rarely followed.  A methodical and disciplined approach regularly beats out random acts of inspired genius.  Whether your 90-day goal is to hit specific sales targets, lose weight, get a new job, expand your network, or dominate the LSAT, you’ll be among the top 5% of performers by following this simple game plan.

Achievement is well within your reach.  Your job is to seize it.