Natacha Beim knows all about goal setting. At two years old, she'd already decided to become a teacher. By the time she started school, she was taking meticulous notes and saving all her notebooks, assuming that one day she'd want them as a teaching resource.
As a young adult, she established rigorous goal-setting routines that she continues today.
"Every year I go on a retreat by myself for two or three days, and I put down what kind of a person do I want to be, what kind of a mother, what kind of a leader, what kind of a business owner, what kind of everything," she explained.
But Beim, who opened her first school when she was 22, said she's only recently learned to apply her goal-setting approach to her group of companies, which includes several schools and Canadian and U.S. franchising companies.
"For almost 15 years I've been resisting the idea of treating my schools like a business," she said. "You think, 'It's not a business, it's a school,' and as long as you can pay the bills, things are good."
This year, however, Beim decided to involve her employees in setting company goals – and holding each other accountable for delivering on them. Beim said the process involved setting two-week targets and publicly posting everyone's contributions over those intervals.
"I can't even explain how much that changed things."
Beim said that the exercise has dramatically raised performance and accountability. Underperformers have been quickly exposed and, uncomfortable with peer scrutiny, have opted to leave the company. Beim added that the move has also improved cash flow. Previously, she said, she treated her companies' finances as a whole, with more profitable businesses subsidizing less-profitable companies. Through the goal-setting process, she said, each company was required to stand on its own – and now does.
Beim said her new goal-setting scheme is continuing to propel her companies forward.