This blog was first published at the PAWS Pet Grooming blog site. Written by Luke Edward Harper, Executive Assistant to Owner David O’Connor. It speaks to the frustration people face when setting goals and how training, education and coaching can create excitement, clarity and motivation.
I met over Zoom with PAWS founder, David O’Connor, one night. I work under him as an executive assistant, directing operations and managing interns, among other things.
Recently, David has started meeting with a group of business advisors. At his first meeting, they gave him homework. Among other things, one item on the list was “set a clear goal.” When I asked David what he had prepared for the meeting, he replied:
“I still don’t know what the ‘clear goal’ is…I’ll figure that one out tomorrow. I’ll dream it in my sleep. That’s what’s gonna happen.”
I actually quoted him in my notes. I thought it was funny at the time, I guess. But I let it go and made sure we circled back to it.
Later on, we returned to the subject and David did some abstract ideation about the goal being expansion into more shops. After some rambling, he abruptly recounted what a CLEAR goal (acronym) is, in a moment of clarity, you could say.
So we talked it out:
- Who were the people collaborating with us toward expansion?
- What limitations should we recognize by saying our goal is (only) expansion?
- Why are we so excited and passionate? Where the heck are we getting this momentum from?! We have a lot, clearly. On a typical night, we talk for more than an hour, just us.
- What are the actions we need to take to get from finding a shop on pet groomer ads dot com to staffing shop-level employees and taking on interns?
- How might we reward ourselves when we finally get another shop? David listed “go for a hike” and “gain Irish citizenship” for starters. (I mean, c’mon, his name is David O’Connor.)
As we walked through our final SMART goal (another acronym), I literally watched as he went from stressed, (covering his face, rubbing his forehead, anxiously running his fingers through his hair, turning to humor to avoid the topic,) to exhilarated, (speaking a mile a minute, gesticulating wildly, explaining his thinking to me.)
It got even better.
The rest of the conversation was a breeze, which is hard to quantify but easy to explain.
David shared more openly, was less distracted, and even seemed less tired, even though we’d been carrying on for nearly two hours, approaching midnight. For example, 20 minutes in, we were in a haze, browsing pet grooming shops for sale… not productive, not focused.
After we clarified our goal, David was discussing markets and partners and looking for that “spark” in a prospective shop and visiting Atlanta! He brought up new ideas and expressed gratitude for all the work we’ve done so far.
Like night and day!
All this to say, give SMART Goals a shot.
We recommend a productivity coach and professional organizer, but most importantly, a dear friend and advisor, Margo Crawford of Wave Productivity, to guide you or your team through SMART goals, and SMARTER and CLEARER goals.
You’ll feel more confident in your direction and even stay focused on the task at hand, knowing where all your work is going.
Goals training prepared us to literally transform a man with his head in his hands into a man with his hands in the air.
Please note-the image for this blog was created by the talented Jo Diegel, Graphic Designer of the PAWS Pet Grooming team. He captured me perfectly with clipboard in hand and my sweet Italian greyhound Caraboo.
Margo Crawford is a Productivity Coach with Wave Productivity. If you are struggling with goals and need to focus and get clarity, you are not alone. Margo works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace. Set up a consultation today. Margo coaches by phone nationally. If you want to get more organized in your office call 602-677-8275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org