Here's why you don't reach your goals.

published2 months ago
2 min read

Howdy, Zack here.

Don't you just love that feeling of achieving a big goal?

Sure, we all do. But so many of us set goals and fail to reach them. Why is that?

I'd like to propose that our 'Strategic Effort' is off.

I'm sure you're thinking... "what do you mean by 'Strategic Effort,' and why did you initial cap it?

I'm talking about a few things that, when done strategically with consistent effort, will help you achieve your goals instead of just setting them. So, I've given it a name and initial capped it — to somewhat formalize the concept. Will it stick? I don't know. But I like to name things to make them easier to remember.

In 2020, I started working with an engineering firm with a big goal of being awarded the 'Best Places to Work' designation. At first, the idea was casually floated in our strategic planning discussion while setting their 3-Year Horizon on their Strat Plan. As we continued to discuss, the team envisioned how achieving this goal would make their company a place where they'd love to work and help them reach their longer-term objectives. So, it was added as a bulleted item to help describe what their organization would look and feel like three years from that day.

Within 1.5 years (halfway to their 3-Year Horizon), my client was awarded LA Business Journal's Best Places to Work, where they select the top 100 companies in the Los Angeles metro that are setting trends and redefining the employee experience. To achieve this designation, it's not something the executive team can just apply for and hope to win. Instead, a survey is conducted of all employees from an independent research group which ranks all entrants on topics such as leadership, corporate culture, communications, and more. And even more impressive, they recently won this award again, for a second year in a row.

So, how did my client apply a Strategic Effort to achieve this big goal?


  • They formalized this big objective in their Strat Plan.
    At our first Annual Planning, this objective from their 3-Year Horizon was added as one of 5 annual goals.
  • They created SMART Rocks (Key Projects) each quarter.
    In Quarterly Meetings, we prioritized smaller goals to strategically help their firm win Best Places to Work.
  • They stuck with their Business Operating System (BOS) to stay on track.
    They stayed accountable in their Weekly Meetings. The result. Winning Best Places to Work in half the time they planned.

Just remember:
You'll reach your goals more often with a Strategic Effort. The old saying goes, "Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail." So, next time you set a goal, plan it out and stay accountable to the small details of achieving it. 🙌


  1. PSL — Make your own fall favorite at home.
  2. Punchlines — Create your own jokes with a little AI help.
  3. Fantastic Mr. Fox — Watch one of my fall favorites.

What I've shared in today's letter scratches the surface of a more Strategic Effort to achieve your goals. So, I've built a free guide for you about strengthening your Business Operating System. If you'd like a deeper dive, take a look:

Until next Wednesday, start by considering what goals are most important for you to reach.

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