With only 1/12 of the year remaining, it’s the ideal time to take stock and consider how you’ll get better results in 2016. This is the perfect time of year to pinpoint just where you are and clarify where you’re headed, whether you’re delighted with the way 2015 has gone so far or you’re disappointed and frustrated you haven’t been able to reach the level of success you originally imagined.
A sound process for introspection and goal-setting will position you for superior results in the coming year. Here are six steps you should take and why they’re important:
- Consider your WHY. Your company is your vehicle for reaching your true destination—at least it should be. All too often we lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing and, as they say, life takes over. And that’s a huge mistake. When we have something that’s really important driving our actions, it’s much easier to stay focused, set sensible priorities, and make sound decisions. Without a WHY we end up putting out one fire after another and, as a result, putting off the results we had originally intended.
- Paint a vivid picture. We all have thoughts about what our future could look like. Some of us are really good at strategic thinking and can describe in detail the future we imagine 10 years from now. Others are better at thinking about 1-year or 3-year horizons. Regardless, the most successful business leaders embrace the importance of having a clear picture of their desired future, regardless of how far out they plan. It’s an acknowledgement that we can create our own future and it’s our responsibility to share that picture with our people to keep them aligned and focused. Be as creative and detailed about describing your future as you can and you’ll unleash the power of true Vision.
- Narrow your list. Having just 4 – 5 Key Strategies will enable most individuals and organizations to tackle the number of projects required to successfully execute those strategies. Be sure to set SMART goals that combine to get you where you want to go. Remember what SMART stands for:
Realistically high and Results-oriented
- Acknowledge rewards and consequences. For each SMART goal, list the rewards for achieving each goal and, similarly, list the consequences for not achieving those goals. Can you think of a better way to stay focused on your goals than being reminded of how you’ll be rewarded when you achieve your goal or those nasty consequences you’ll face if you fall short of your goal? It works!
- Measure, measure, measure. For each SMART goal, be sure to determine the best metrics for gauging progress toward your goal as well as metrics for measuring performance improvements. For example, a goal for improving cash flow will have a measurement for marking progress on the improvement project (e.g., Target Dates) as well as a measurement for seeing the actual improvement in cash flow (e.g., AR Aging). Once you’ve settled on the right metrics it’s important to watch them like a hawk.
- Trust the Process. If you’re a fan of The Profit, you’ve heard Marcus Lemonis repeatedly say, “Trust the Process.” He’s reminding us that a business operates through a series of processes (e.g., Sales, Fulfillment, Accounts Receivable, etc.) that, when properly laid out, result in profitability and scalability. The same should be true of Planning. Why make it an irritating annual event when it can be part of how you do business—a continuous process for improving every annual cycle!
Make sure 2016 will be your best year ever by booking your seat at our next GPS For Your Life. Learn more or register here.