Goal Setting Lessons: Meeting Your Client’s Goals—Not Yours

Can you create goal-setting magic?


Chris Carneal, founder and CEO of the fundraising program Boosterthon, hels more than 1,500 schools meet fundraising goals. But when it comes to goal-setting lessons, Chris says he is still learning. He offers a series of questions to help us calibrate our own assumptions and determine how we can best meet our clients’ goals.

“I get them talking by asking them a question. Then I ask follow-up questions,” Chris explains. “I'll dig a little bit deeper.”

Watch the video to learn how you can set better goals by asking the right questions.

Goal setting is incredibly important. But if you are a leader in any capacity, you realize it is not just your goals that matter, it's whoever you're serving goals. So one of the things I think is missed by leaders is a very basic principle that it took me a few years to learn and I'm still learning, which is asking those that I'm leading, whether it be my team members or the clients that I'm serving, "What specifically are your goals in the short term, in the mid-term, and in the long term?"

I just think that very, very basic insight of asking, "What are your goals," and then understanding that my assumptions and expectations of their goals and their expectations of their goals are sometimes off. So then it's my job, if I'm serving a client, to figure out how can my product or service help meet their goals, not mine.

So when I can get a client talking about their goals, that's one. I get them talking by asking them a question. Then I ask follow-up questions. I'll dig a little bit deeper. "Well, tell me more. Then what would you do? Why is that the case?"

If I just spend about five minutes asking them what their goals are, why those are their goals, what their past goals would be, and what maybe their future goals will be, then I can start to figure out how can I customize my service to best meet their goals.

What happens is kind of magical. During that five minute conversation, I'm not just learning what I have to do to help them achieve their goals, I'm allowing them to imagine how big their goals can be. So then what's happening is over five minutes they're stretching their goals. They're getting their goals to another level. Then we're starting to talk about how we can meet those goals together. So I don't have to tell them what to do, as much as then they can imagine and then want to do the action steps that I recommend to help meet their goals.

Chris Carneal

Chris Carneal is the founder and CEP of Booster Enterprises and its flagship school-funding program, the Boosterthon Fun Run.

Chris was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He later attended Samford University in Bi...

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