Explicit goals

Regular readers of my blog know that I’m a big fan of deliberate action.  And while I’m not a huge "make a daily list and check the items off" kind of guy (since like many VCs I’m somewhat scattered in my day to day work) I’m a huge fan of regularly checking in against a set of explicit goals or outcomes. 

To that end, I like to make myself a quarterly list of large "to-do’s" for each of the companies with whom I work.  These aren’t general things like "talk to XYZ CEO more often" – they are specific outcomes for each company that I’m trying to drive towards.  They range from "Hire a banker to sell the business" to "Develop a partner program" to "Close the Series C financing".  Clearly they aren’t things that I plan to accomplish alone and they are often developed in conjunction with management.  I like the discipline of having to write out for each company I work with the main thing that I’d like to work on to really make a difference. 

The same type of goal-setting can (and should) be done at any level of an organization.  Replace "company" with "department" or inside of a department with "key project".  And don’t forget to check back in at the end of the quarter to assess how you’re doing.