Attributes of Strong Goals

A well-written win (a.k.a. goal) is a powerful way to maintain clarity, focus, and productivity on the things that matter most.

However, they are surprisingly easy to mess up. Over the years, we've catalogued a variety of important attributes wins should have.

Directly Actionable

Strong wins identify actionable projects. They set a course of action. In contrast, revenue targets and other abstract goals provide little strategic direction.

Numerically Measurable

The numbers that represent the current state and the goal should be clearly documented. E.g. "Increase conversion rate from 2% to 4%."

Highly Strategic

Wins should have a strategic focus that results in permanent, systemic, and dramatic changes. They should not focus on day-to-day operational issues that mostly just maintain the status quo.

Clearly Worded

Strong wins are concise and easy to understand. You want others to be able to understand, but also you want yourself to understand when you revisit it later.

"Everything is vague to a degree you do not realise until you have tried to make it precise."

— Bertrand Russell

Sufficiently Detailed

Research has clearly shown that planning significantly increased the chances of success. Often this just means bullet points outlining the required actions and timing.

Connected to Parent

You want each win to directly drive forward the higher level wins. Resist the temptation to add things that are vaguely related, but aren't 100% focused on the stated goal.

Within Control

Goals will only be meaningful (and invigorating) if you can honestly feel responsible for them. If external forces play too big a part in determining the end result, then there's no pride in success and no learning in failure.


If you say, "I will make 3 sales this week", you might spend the week distracted, but still get lucky and make 4 sales. Or you might work like crazy and only make 1 sale for reasons out of your control.

In contrast, if you say, "I will call 100 prospects this week", if you stay focused, you can do that and feel good about success (or learn from failure) no matter what.

Adequately Ambitious

If a win is too small, it puts the higher level wins in jeopardy. Projects often take more time than we think, so it is important to make as much progress as possible at every opportunity, especially in the "early days".

Possible to Achieve

Wins should be ambitious for the time frame, but also doable. It is good to push oneself, but missing an unrealistic win is demoralising. And it weakens your habit of completing wins "on time, as stated".

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us