Accidental Entrepreneur: How To Set Goals for Success In Life

  • Levels of goals: Typically projects take months or years to complete. Setting and monitoring goals at various levels help with successful execution and early detection of challenges and adjustments. I break the goals into two categories:
  • Intermediate Goals: Intermediate goals have timelines that can range from a few weeks to a few months. This level of granularity makes it easier to have more clarity on what needs to be done in the short term from an executional and tactical perspective. By setting intermediate goals, it provides a matrix for tracking and measuring the progress toward the overall goal for completion of tasks.
  • Ultimate Goals: From the project beginning, one needs to set clear and measurable final or ultimate goals for the project. Having the ultimate goal visible helps team members with clarity of their contributions and how the success of the project would be measured at the end. I have seen many projects get reset many times over the project lifetime, mainly due to the lack of a clear end goal. While the end goal can be adjusted due to market conditions or new learnings, it’s always important to have an ultimate goal at every point of execution.
  • Product Goals: It’s easier for each individual to just focus on their assigned tasks and how to complete that task. However, for a successful and collaborative work environment, the entire team needs to work together. Then how does a person manage the individual tasks and interpersonal tasks?.In my experience, people with strong opinions seem to get their way but their solutions are not normally optimal for the product. My management style is to bubble up the discussion to the product level and based on overall success of the product definition along with those requirements, we decide on the solution. Having a “product goal” as the key matrix, removes the emotions/biases and helps drive toward success of both the company/product.
  • Customer Values/Goals: All products are developed with an end customer in mind. Simply put, for a successful product, it needs to solve a customer problem or improve the efficiency and productivity of the customers. Understanding those characteristics as pain points or value creation and then focusing on those items as customer values create easy to manage projects with clear end goals. In my experience, many founders and developers tend to focus on their own innovative technology but forget to connect the solution with a specific customer problem. The ability to understand and enumerate customer goals for the products, will help with product sales along with reducing the overall development time.
  • Personal Goals: Finally, but very importantly, aligning company and product goals with individual team member’s goals provides returns in multiples. A motivated person who sees their contribution will align with company and greater community goals, by working more effectively to create something great. As a manager, it’s key to understand the personal goals of each team member and then align their work and contributions accordingly. Same way, team members need to work within the project confines and create opportunities for them to learn and enhance their personal goals while contributing for overall success of the product and company.



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Ruban Kanapathippillai

Ruban Kanapathippillai

Entrepreneur, Founder of multiple successful startups, Mentor/coach, Angel investor (Sandhill Angels) and Positive thinker