In a study conducted by Harvard in 1979, it was found that goal setting and planning significantly impact the attainment of success. The study followed MBA students over a 10 year period and revealed astonishing results. Surprisingly, 84% of the students had set no goals at all, while another 13% had written goals without concrete plans. However, the real game-changer was the mere 3% of students who not only had written goals but also concrete high level plans to achieve them.
Fast forward ten years, and the outcome was remarkable. The 13% with written goals were making twice as much money as the 84% without goals, while the 3% with goals and plans were making an astonishing ten times as much as 97% of the class. This study’s findings reinforce the importance of setting clear objectives and developing a strategic plan to turn vision into reality.
While the Harvard study remains a great exploration of the link between goals and success, it is not the only evidence supporting the transformative impact of goal setting. A study by Statistic Brain reveals that individuals who set clear, written goals are 50% more likely to achieve them compared to those who have no specific goals.


A vision transcends mere goals; it’s a vivid mental image of the future you aspire to create. It acts as a magnetic force, pulling you towards a life that aligns with your deepest desires and values. Your vision fuels motivation during challenges. A well-defined vision serves as a compass, guiding strategic goal-setting.


When thinking about the 3 rules of Leadership below, a vision and goal setting is very much about rule 3: It’s not about you or others, it’s about the Vision that you and others deliver on! However, to deliver on a vision, you need to identify the big strategic goals and your operational goals that sit under them, your roadmap. Only then can you focus and align around the direction the vision identifies.
  1. 1. It’s all about YOU!
  2. 2. It’s not about you, it’s about OTHERS!
  3. 3. It’s not about you or others, It’s about the vision!


Once you have a vision, you need to do the work to identify the strategic goals, you can do that in a myriad of ways, as a product person, you want to know the problems and opportunities that are going on in the market, with the end user and with the problem so that you can leverage those to write your strategic goals. Really important to do the research to enable identifying a strategic goal. For an individual in life, I would use a different approach and have you think about the future; 2-5 years and no more. What does that future look like, what are you doing, where are you working, what does the environment look like, any smells, sounds, tastes, etc. Then looking back from that future to today, what were the BIG milestones, or steps you took to get you to that future. Once you have identified those, you can prioritise and start to work on one goal only. Break that goal up into small actional steps and set up some timelines for them.
This becomes your plan and as you take action towards that vision, the plan clarifies more and more. You need to take action to get clarity. Remember, if you want to achieve something in life, business or career, having a vision, setting some goals and taking small actions will make a significant difference, not only to your earnings as mentioned in the study above, but also in terms of your own personal satisfaction and accomplishments. There is no better way to build a happy, strong sense of self then by realising a vision you might have! It will also help you to:
  1. Clarity Breeds Success:
    • Goal setting provides clarity, helping individuals define their aspirations with precision.
    • Concrete plans transform vague ideas into actionable steps, creating a roadmap towards success.
  2. Motivation and Focus:
    • Written goals serve as a constant source of motivation, reminding individuals of their purpose.
    • Concrete plans act as a compass, keeping individuals focused on the necessary steps to reach their objectives.
  3. Measurable Progress:
    • Setting goals with clear metrics enables individuals to track their progress.
    • Concrete plans provide benchmarks, allowing for adjustments and optimizations along the journey.
  4. Overcoming Challenges:
    • Goals and plans serve as a resilience tool, helping individuals navigate challenges with a clear strategy in mind.
    • A well-defined vision becomes a source of strength during setbacks, fostering determination and perseverance.
  5. Reactivity Reduction:
    • Goals serve as a focusing factor and anything apart from those goals start to be less of a priority
    • You stop reacting to everything that comes along, because you have focus


The Harvard study laid bare the undeniable connection between goal setting, planning, and unprecedented success. As a leadership coach, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of guiding individuals towards setting clear, written goals and creating actionable plans. The key is not merely to dream but to translate those dreams into tangible objectives and strategies. Your vision is within reach – all it takes is a clear goal and a solid plan to turn that vision into reality. The statistics speak for themselves; are you ready to harness the power of having a vision and setting goals for your journey towards success.

Whether you are a business owner, an employee, or an aspiring entrepreneur, incorporating goal setting and planning into your routine is essential for success in any endeavour. Don’t leave your future to chance – identify a vision, set goals, create actionable plans, and witness the transformation that occurs when intention meets action.

Book online if you want some coaching on this for you, your life, career, business or family. I am a licensed coach with 20+ years experience in leadership, in New York, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, London & Sydney.