Translate Goals into Actionable Tasks
With SMART goals and a plan with specific strategies developed, it is time to break the goal down into the bite-sized actionable steps required to execute.
The key to breaking goals down successfully is to get more granular until there is a well-defined set of actionable steps over which the advisor has complete control. Acting on these bite-size steps will steadily advance progress toward the goals and advisor success. The elegance of this approach is the advisor retains 100% control over the execution of these bite-size steps.
You want to get to the level at which the advisor or someone else on their team can complete a step in 90 minutes or less with little to no preparation or follow-up. Be sure to clarify who will do each step, by when, and that they have the resources they need to do the step. The tactics should be prioritized to organize the team’s efforts and track results.
A common mistake is to set SMART goals with an advisor and assume they have what they need to be successful. This is typically not a good assumption. If you want to deliver value, consider how to help the advisor with:
Translating SMART Goals into actionable steps and realistic milestones
Monitoring progress to ensure execution of actionable steps the advisor can control
Adjusting Course based on execution results
Financial institutions that focus on broad goals without outlining specific actionable steps are less likely to affect real progress with their advisors – yet the institution’s success is directly linked to the success of their advisors. They are also less equipped to specify why a certain goal was or was not achieved. While the successful execution of these bite-size steps does not guarantee the goal will be achieved, it does create clarity on whether or not the selected activity was executed upon. With a specific strategy in place, changes to the plan can be made earlier to ensure that consistent progress occurs.
This process is designed to drive behavioral change. Working through bite-size steps on a regular basis, and feeling the success of completion, creates the habit of working “on the business” which builds momentum. Creating the habit of working “on the business” is as important as achieving goals. Being intentional about taking time to work on activities that accelerate success has a powerful impact on a business. For more on the power of breaking things down into small and manageable pieces, take a look at B.J. Fogg’s Tiny Habits methodology or Stephen Guise’s Mini Habits. Both authors show that focusing on small changes or steps on a regular basis form the foundation for goal achievement and habit formation.