Welcome back to the Engineering Your Business podcast, helping entrepreneurs and business leaders like you leverage your people and processes to thrive in your business.

I’m your host Shawn Washburn.

Have you ever gotten frustrated when a project at work went off course or a coworker or team member poured their heart into something but the end result wasn’t what you were hoping for?

I think a super important question we have to continue to ask is “what is the goal?”

Sometimes we think we’re on the right path. We’re working hard, making progress, etc. But we’re actually not focused on the right goal or the goal wasn’t defined well enough.

I was thinking about this recently one night in the midst of a run.

I am a sprinter. I am not a mid or long distance runner.

But I’ve been training to run a 5K. It would only be my second… ever.

I could run 110 hurdles and a lap around the track all day. But 3.1 miles? Not my strong suit.

But I’ve been training and my goal is to run one with my youngest son Ben. I watched him scorch a race several weeks ago and he is a really good cross country length runner.

My oldest son Eli has been helping train me. He is an exercise science major who learned more before he went to college than I had any idea when it comes to strength and athletic training, nutrition, how the bodies skeletal and muscular systems work together. It really is amazing to me every time.

In fact, my achilles had been hurting me and was stalling my running. He analyzed me on video and walked me through what he thought was happening and how to fix it. I did what he said and it worked.

He’s also been giving me specific workouts through the week to build me up for the race.

The other nights workout was to run for 30 minutes at a decent pace. Not too fast, not too slow. Just keep running for 30 minutes at as fast a pace as I could keep up.

I was a little nervous because I just don’t do that… at least without a basketball. I could play basketball for 3 hours running up and down the court. But running for 30 minutes around the neighborhood. Seemed like an eternity to me.

But I got my earbuds cued up and ready to go and I set off. 5 minutes went by. Then 10. 15. Once I got to 15 I turned around. I knew how far I’d gone and I wanted to try to go farther on the back 15. But I also wanted to make sure I kept running.

And it was that tension there that I kept pondering. My original goal and task was just to run for 30 minutes. But once I was out there, especially on the back half, I wanted to push myself. But what if I did that and did really well on the back 15 minutes except I had to stop with 3 minutes left because I was wiped out.

On one hand I would have finished sort of strong. But I would have fallen short of the goal… which was to run for 30 minutes.

I think it’s the same for us with our work and assignments we may be giving out. We need to make sure it is clear to both parties what the actual goal is so that no one is surprised or disappointed at the end. And so that time isn’t wasted or people frustrated unnecessarily just because there were two different goals in two different minds.

Help those in your organization to daily keep refocusing and asking “but what was the goal?”

If you can do that, you’ll get more of the right work done and end up with more happy people.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. If you’ve been enjoying these one of the best thing you can do is tell a fellow entrepreneur or business leader. You spreading the word helps me help more people. Thanks so much.