Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Chris Daniel, @consultnjeans. Chris is the Consultant in Jeans, a consultant, coach and author based in the DC area. His new book, Consult in Jeans, tells the true life story of how a few of his clients sought success in their business and used practical advice and guidance to do it in a relatively short amount of time. Daniel partners with clients in the federal government, corporate America, and academia. His flagship high-impact workshops and off-site retreats have received praise from the country’s top leaders. For more info, visit his website: regroupartners.com
SmallBizLady: Is goal setting for real, and if so, how does it work?
Chris Daniel: Yes it is and it does work, if you work it. Dreaming and writing down goals is only 1/3 of the process. In the WHYSMART(rra) technique, you can learn to manage your activity and focus on accomplishing everything you set your mind and efforts to.
SmallBizLady: What is WHYSMART(rra)?
Chris Daniel: Written, Harmonious, Yours, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistically High, Targeted (Time Sensitive). The rra stands for Risks, Rewards, Accountability. Using this technique with each and every goal is an accountable approach to accomplishment that changes your life and shortens the time to accomplishment for anything you want to do.
SmallBizLady: So how can I do this in my business?
Chris Daniel: Easily. First commit to do nothing else without it. Then, use it on your current goals. It feels a little uncomfortable at first, but it quickly becomes habit after you begin to see success.
SmallBizLady: How long does it take to see success?
Chris Daniel: As long as it takes to change a bad habit. That’s all unfulfilled dreams are: a lack of consistent successful habits. It’s similar to a diet. If you want to lose weight, you get rid of bad eating habits. You instill healthy living habits, and in 90 days or less you’re in a better position. The same goes for business.
SmallBizLady: So what’s the RRA part?
Chris Daniel: It’s for Risks, Rewards and Accountability. Basically, you have to ask yourself:
– What will happen if I don’t complete this goal?
– What will happen if I do?
– Who will hold me accountable?
When you can do these things, it tugs at your emotional heartstrings. And everyone knows when we become emotional about something, we act!
SmallBizLady: So what is the thing about bartering?
Chris Daniel: Well, no one ever got to the top on their own. Bartering is a way to get and give help on your way up the ladder. The key to this is having a good agreement signed and in place. The WHYSMART technique is also a good one to follow to create a bartering agreement. It should always be a win-win.
SmallBizLady: Can you guarantee this works?
Chris Daniel: Yes, as long as you work it. I get this question a lot about the services my firm offers (consulting, coaching speaking, team building). I use the analogy of the motivational speaker: What happens 2 weeks after you’ve seen a speaker? You forget most of what you heard, and you’ve done even less. Success is action-based.
SmallBizLady: What makes you think I need help (coaching, consulting, 3rd party expertise)?
Chris Daniel: I get that a lot too, and the real answer is IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE. One question: have you accomplished all you set out to do this year? If not, do you know where you dropped the ball? A subject matter expert can help you identify those things and use your strengths to never let them happen again. If you agree with some support and accountability in those areas, you can benefit from coaching.
SmallBizLady: What about time management?
Chris Daniel: How can I do a better job at that? First, forget about what you’ve failed at regarding your schedule. You can’t get it back. Next, track yourself for a week. Use paper to jot down everything you do from the moment you wake up until you retire at night. Look at the paper the following week and find patterns that identify the priorities in your day. Finally, redefine your schedule according to your “peak performance times” and your priorities. Again, it’s a little uncomfortable at first because we’re creatures of habit. After you do it, you’ll find your productivity instantly increases by 25-40%.
SmallBizLady: How do you manage distractions?
Chris Daniel: You don’t. It’s almost the same as letting go of the past: you just do. Acknowledging distractions and interruptions is something we all must do, but we don’t have to let them intrude on our success. Knowing the difference is the first step. Distractions are those things that impose themselves on us. Interruptions are the things we choose to take part in. It’s a matter of choice. When you can laser focus on the things that are within your WHYSMART purview, nothing else matters.
SmallBizLady: You do a lot of things, how do you find time?
Chris Daniel: I incorporate the same things I advise and coach clients to do. If you’ve ever worked for an organization, you realize you only work about 5-6 hours/day in a 40 hr. workweek. Translate that same 20-30 hrs/wk to your small business (in a focused, uninterrupted way), and you’ll be amazed at what you can do.
SmallBizLady: How often should I revisit the goal setting process?
Chris Daniel: I use January 1 and July 4 as my milestones. I have to give credit to a good friend and financial advisor I know. He gave me that idea in 2011. You’re not really doing much in the mornings of either of those days, so why not take 60-90 minutes to plan your success? I make it a habit to review my annual goals, plan new ones, cross out accomplishments, and reset. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.