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The Alternative Board Blog

How to Cultivate a "Goal-Focused" CEO Mindset

Jan. 17, 2024 | Posted by Lee Polevoi


The coming of a new year is the best time to re-think the past year’s professional and personal goals and start cultivating new goals for the weeks and months ahead. Of necessity, this means tearing yourself away from day-to-day operations and thinking more in terms of long-range strategy.

Why is this important? Aligning your personal goals with those of your organization “bolsters employee morale, demonstrating that their leader shares the company’s aspirations,” notes Success Consciousness. This can build trust and bolster employee engagement.

At the same time, it’s vital that business goals be as specific as possible. Rather than a list of generalized goals, try to “frame your objectives around specific language, including detailed milestones and/or desired financial outcomes,” which in turn will lead to crafting a more viable strategy.


Here are goals many CEOs and business owners set for themselves:


Become a better decision-maker.

Business leaders make vital operational and strategic decisions every day. But rather than rely upon some vague “gut instinct,” savvy CEOs and business owners take a more structured approach to decision-making. This includes nurturing skills that emphasize:

  • Compiling the most pertinent data around a specific issue
  • Conducting an objective analysis of that issue
  • Evaluating possible benefits and hazards that will follow the decision


A more systematic approach is likely to yield more favorable outcomes.


Embrace adaptability.

Setting goals is a necessary element in business leadership. At the same time, as everyone knows, market conditions are constantly in flux. As time passes, some stated objectives may turn out to be inadequate against a new, emerging challenge, or simply not the kind of goal that’s right for your business.

That’s why adaptability to changing conditions is essential. “Resilient CEOS are able to bounce back from failures, learn from their experiences, and persevere in the face of adversity,” notes Medium. This includes understanding how best to “meet changing market dynamics and emerging trends, ensuring the continued success of their organizations.”


Make more time for strategic thinking.

Every business leader feels pressed for time. What sets the most effective leaders apart is their ability to delegate operational tasks to others, so they can carve out time to focus on long-term strategic objectives.

This isn’t an easy goal to achieve, given all the factors that go into leading a thriving organization. Increasingly, CEOs and business leaders are opting to take part in high-level peer advisory groups like TAB Business Advisory Boards where a close-knit group of business leaders come together and share knowledge, expertise, and accountability.

Peer groups can be a valuable asset in terms of setting new goals and having the support and accountability needed to achieve them.


Adopt a “lessons learned” mindset.

Look back on this past year, keep in mind the goals you set for yourself way back in January. How many of these goals came to fruition? How many proved to be unattainable or simply wrong for existing conditions?

As strategist Anne-Marie Clark notes, “Successful leaders don’t just dive into setting goals—they take some time to reflect on their progress over the previous year and … identify what worked well for them, where and how they were derailed, and what they learned.”

Remember, selecting goals and encouraging the workforce to strive for those goals helps foster a sense of purpose throughout the organization, and offer a distinct, measurable sign of what success looks like, and how—by working together—everyone on the team can help meet those goals.


Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board


Written by Lee Polevoi

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