Todd Weiss C.F.A. – Franchise/Business Consultant & Life Coach

Franchise Consulting, Franchise Brokerage, Entrepreneur

Todd Weiss

Want to know more? Call 866.934.7167 | Email

« »

Don’t Set Goals…. Set Benchmarks!!!

This is another one of my personal favorites…  This was written in early 2009… Enjoy!


“Benchmarks” not “Goals” – Enhancing Your Personal and Professional Growth

A Word Defined

Not long ago I did a search looking for the definition of the word “growth”.  My curiosity was prompted by a discussion with some of my colleagues at a networking event.  Growth is defined in a number of different ways.  In my opinion describes it best:

“Growth refers to an increase in some quantity over time. The quantity can be physical or abstract. It can also refer to the mode of growth, i.e. numeric models for describing how much a particular quantity grows over time.”

Growth is perhaps the most important aspect personal and professional development.  If you don’t focus  on it, you can quickly become expendable to your employer.  On the personal side, without growth your relationships may suffer.  The same can be said for companies who don’t have an appropriate strategy for growth.  Businesses lacking vision to improve their service or product and grow their customer base will likely be gobbled up by competitors.  This begs the following questions:

  • How do we continue to grow?
  • What strategies can be implemented to enhance our growth?

The Typical Solution – Set a Goal

A common solution is to establish goals.  The most successful people I know set goals or targets for achievement.  If you are a teacher you may establish a specific GPA for your class to achieve.  If you are in sales or management you can set production or efficiency goals for your employees.  Almost every business establishes goals for their fiscal year.  This is usually discussed during quarterly meetings with senior management or, if the company is publicly traded, with Wall Street securities analysts.  According to

“A goal or objective consists of a projected state of affairs which a person or a system plans or intends to bring about – a personal or organizational desired end point in some sort of assumed development.  Many people endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.”

There are a few key words worth noting in this definition – finite, deadline and end.  These words highlight the fundamental problem with goal setting and why it’s the wrong strategy to promote growth.  The irony is this strategy will sometimes achieve the opposite result.  Let me explain.

A few years ago my wife and I were on vacation in the Caribbean.  We got up early one morning to participate in a 3 mile run sponsored by the hotel.  We were led by and older gentleman who was an experienced runner and regular participant in both the New York City and Boston Marathons.  During our run he explained the best time to pass a competitor is at the peak of a hill.   The reason is simple.  Most runners see a hill as a challenge and set a goal to reach the peak.  Unfortunately, what typically happens is their subconscious mind tells them to relax at the summit.  They get complacent at the peak and start to slow down because the goal was achieved.  This is when you make your move.  Your opponent relaxes, lets their guard down and is susceptible to being passed.  Surprisingly you don’t need to go all out to move ahead.  You simply need to concentrate, maintain your pace, and you will blow right by them.  This is where the problem lies with goal setting.  Once your objective is achieved you get complacent and growth stops.  To prevent this from happening a suggested tactic is to establish a benchmark.

Measured Performance with Benchmarks

Businesses like people are living entities.  They need day-to-day attention in order to be successful.  A successful business owner needs to constantly work on their business model, refine their process, educate employees and lastly – be willing to change.  You also need to measure your results.  This helps evaluate your progress and provides a framework to measure growth.  According to, a benchmark is:

2 a: a point of reference from which measurements may be made b: something that serves as a standard by which others may be measured or judged c: a standardized problem or test that serves as a basis for evaluation or comparison

By using a benchmark, you have a clear measurable way to evaluate your progress without becoming complacent.  These benchmarks should be established on small scale to avoid overwhelming you and or your employees.

A good example in how benchmarks can be helpful is with weight loss.  Health professionals generally agree the healthiest way to drop weight is to slowly burn it off over a period of to several months.  Most people, however, approach the problem by setting a goal weight within a set time period.  This creates two problems,

  • Unrealistic expectations which leads to disappointing results, or
  • Setting the bar at a level that is easily achieved

Everyone has a different metabolism and thus burn calories at different rates.  If you set an unrealistic goal weight or timeframe you will likely become disappointed and quit.  Ironically this can happen even though you are getting results.  The problem is the results are not what you envisioned.  Another problem is establishing a goal that is too easily achieved.  This creates a similar problem to the running up a hill we discussed previously – complacency.  Once we reach our goal weight we lose focus and put the weight back on, a common problem among compulsive dieters.

Instead of establishing a goal weight, a more effective strategy can be implemented with benchmarks.  A good starting point could be to lose 1 pound a week.  With this strategy you can slowly modify your diet, add a little exercise and measure your progress without being overwhelmed and losing focus.  If you are achieving your benchmarks too easily you can increase them.  If you are not achieving desired results you can modify your diet and exercise routine accordingly.  This strategy will likely achieve better results and reduce the likelihood of complacency or becoming overwhelmed.

Time to Get Started

We can all agree growth is key to our success.   Establishing an effective growth strategy can mean the difference between staying in business, or going under.  Most tend to use goal setting as a method to achieve results.  Unfortunately this technique can backfire leading to disappointing results or complacency.   A simple strategy using benchmarks can help avoid these common pitfalls.    Setting reasonable benchmarks can be a useful tool to keep your business moving forward, and most importantly help achieve the “growth” you desire.

39 Responses to “Don’t Set Goals…. Set Benchmarks!!!”

  1. “Benchmarks” not “Goals” – Enhancing Your Personal and Professional Growth

  2. Mark Dowe says:

    RT @ToddWeissCFA: “Benchmarks” not “Goals” – Enhancing Your Personal and Professional Growth

  3. “Benchmarks” not “Goals” – Enhancing Your Personal and Professional Growth « Todd Weiss C.F.A. – Franchise/Business

  4. RT @ToddWeissCFA: “Benchmarks” not “Goals” – Enhancing ur Personal and Professional Growth « Todd Weiss C.F.A.

  5. Eventually, an issue that I am overzealous about. I have looked for information of this topic for the last several hours. Your site is greatly valued.

  6. Hi – I would like to say thanks for an interesting post about a subject I have had an interest in for a while now. I have been looking in and reading the comments avidly so just wanted to express my gratitude for providing me with some very good reading material. I look forward to more, and taking a more active part in the discussions here, whilst picking up some knowledge too!!

  7. What is a Web directory? Web directories are similar to the yellow pages in your phone book. A Web directory provides pages for many different categories and on those pages they list Web sites that are relevant to that category.

  8. Smart leaders realize among their own main jobs is to manual their business as well as where appropriate get away from workouts. When we do exactly the same job, exactly the same way these people obtain the same outcomes and this program often propels their own brain in to neutral. Many people become less likely to identify alterations in the actual environment and less likely in order to query exactly how as well as why. Stuck in workouts are assumptions about the work as well as how it works, assumptions we often mistake for that truth and when the planet changes quicker than our assumptions about it, danger is located within the top chair. One approach to eliminate dangerous routines in a business is to start communicating regarding strategy regularly., a Management Consulting firm in Atlanta inspires agencies to faucet essential individuals whatsoever levels in order to adjust technique and also to obtain with one another for the official conversation associated with technique at the minimum each fraction. It does not get more than a few hours in the well-designed method to determine underlying challenges and workouts that no longer make sense.

  9. kate says:

    excellent post. to be honest i am not sure i got every point completely. but, wanted to step upand leave a note anyway. are you a freelance journalist by vocation?, because your writing is really strong.

  10. Thanks. I appreciate your comments. I am not a freelance journalist but I do enjoy writing and sharing information with people. I am glad you enjoyed the post.

  11. Wonderful website, I just came across it and I am already a fan. I recently lost 30 pounds in 30 days, and I am excited to share my weight loss success with as many people as possible. If I can lose weight then any one can. No matter what you do, never give up and you WILL attain every one of your weight loss goals!

  12. I utterly enjoyed reading about “Benchmarks” not “Goals” – Enhancing Your Personal and Professional Growth « Todd Weiss C.F.A. – Franchise/Business Consultant & Life Coach and thought it was well worth the read. The only other site I found on Ask wasnt as good as this one, thanks.

  13. I like this site and saw it on Ask search. I thought your thoughts on “Benchmarks” not “Goals” – Enhancing Your Personal and Professional Growth « Todd Weiss C.F.A. – Franchise/Business Consultant & Life Coach are right on. Thanks for writing about this and looking forward to reading more on your site.

  14. I have been to your site half a dozen times now, and this time I am adding it to my bookmarks :) Your discussions are always relevant, unlike the same-old stuff on other sites (which are coming off my bookmarks!) Keep it up!

  15. Thanks for the comments and glad you find the posts helpful.

  16. Is goal setting bad for #business?

  17. Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrpreneur

  18. alsmith1 says:

    RT @ToddWeissCFA: Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity?… #entrpreneur

  19. Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrpreneur

  20. ToddWeissCFA says:

    Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity?… #entrpreneur

  21. Al Smith says:

    RT @ToddWeissCFA: Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrpreneur

  22. Beth Cregger says:

    Hi Todd! I always enjoy reading your blog posts and of course, this one is no different. They are alway very informative. Thanks! One question for you though, have you ever thought about writing a book or series of books on the topics you cover here in your blogs? I really think you’d do great! Just a thought. : )

  23. FranchiseHelp says:

    @ToddWeissCFA How do you like using Shareaholic? I’ve never used it

  24. FranchiseHelp says:

    @ToddWeissCFA On your Twitter page, it said you were using that platform, wondering how it works

  25. Is goal setting bad? – Gr[..] – #business

  26. ToddWeissCFA says:

    Is goal setting bad? – Gr[..] –… #business

  27. ToddWeissCFA says:

    @FranchiseHelp I am not entirely familiar with that particular platform, please explain…

  28. ToddWeissCFA says:

    @FranchiseHelp got it, it’s ok..just started using it…

  29. Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrpreneur

  30. RT @ToddWeissCFA: Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrpreneur

  31. Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrpreneur

  32. Debbie Fagan says:

    RT @ToddWeissCFA: Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrpreneur

  33. Good #blog for #business & #motivation Comment on “Benchmarks” not “Goals” – Enhancing Your Personal and Profes

  34. Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrpreneur

  35. Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrpreneur

  36. SCFranchise says:

    RT @ToddWeissCFA Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity ? #entrpreneur

  37. Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrepreneur

  38. RT @ToddWeissCFA: Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity? #entrepreneur

  39. SCFranchise says:

    RT @ToddWeissCFA Can setting a goal limit a #business #opportunity ? #entrepreneur

Leave a Reply