Confidence is everything. When JFK announced in May 1961 that the US would go to the moon within ten years, he exuded confidence. And the nation rallied to make it happen. When Churchill said, “… we shall never surrender!” he betrayed no lack of confidence: no ambiguity. Come what may, they would find a way to win the war. Sir John A. MacDonald set a bold goal to build a railway across what is now Canada, in ten years.
All of these goals seemed impossible at the time, but when a respected leader speaks with confidence, people listen and believe.
Any worthwhile goal that is a stretch, requires buy-in from others, and/or tests your mettle must be put forth with confidence. Without it, there is no inspiration or motivation for anyone to give it their best. Imagine an NHL coach telling his team: “We’re going to try to win the cup this year. Come on you guys, I really need you to give it your all!”
Whenever you (or someone else on your team) says, “I’ll try,” you are already starting to come up with excuses in your head for why you failed.
- I’ll try to make my quota this month.
- I’ll try to get you the information you need.
- I’ll try to hire someone to fill this position.
Are you convinced that those goals will be achieved? Not likely. If you accept those statements from your staff, they and you are now complicit in a lie. Their lie is that they will put in some effort to reach the goal; but they will also spend energy to find and blame obstacles for their lack of success. Your lie is that you know the goal isn’t going to be met, but you’ll pretend it is and be suitably annoyed when it doesn’t happen.
On the other hand when someone says any of the following it totally changes the dynamic and now you will be surprised if the goal is not met:
- I am going to hit my quota this month, even if I have to sell to my mother.
- I’ll get you the information you need by tomorrow morning at 10:00 am.
- I will have someone suitable in that position within 45 days.
As a business owner, you’re under the microscope. People parse every word, watch your body language, and listen to your tone. Whatever your goals are, state them with confidence. State them as if they are already accomplished. Leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that you are committed 100% to reaching the goal and will brook no excuses. Remove the word ‘try’ from your vocabulary.