Happy New Year! A new year can mean hope, optimism, and a fresh start for many people. Businesses are executing updated business strategies; annual goals are reset. Some of us might even be creating some resolutions this year. However, if you are like me, and many people I know, you can start the year working on your goals, but in 3-6 weeks you’ll be back to your normal routine. This week I thought I’d share some strategies for the New Year to help you see your goals materialize in 2019!
Strategies for the New Year
Every year I set New Year Resolutions, in three categories: improve health, to improve my career, and to improve my relationships. I meet each of these with varying success, and I know I can do better. For example, to improve health. The week between Christmas and New Year, it is quite common to see me cleaning up the basement and digging out my exercise equipment. I’ll create a workout plan I think I’ll execute and I start exercising. By February something will happen that will take precedence. It could be a work deadline, start of spring sports, or even a cold bug circulating through the house.
The chaos of everyday life sets in and my resolutions get put on hold. That chaos can’t go away. I still need (and want) to work. I still need to be a father and a husband. Instead of giving up or not setting resolutions, I am going to set the strategies I am going to utilize to help me be successful in 2019. I have recently been introduced to the Four Disciplines of Execution and decided to incorporate some of what I’ve learned there. These strategies will help with your individual resolutions, but they are even more powerful if you employ these strategies for your team goals.
Set and Measure Weekly Commitments
What gets measured, gets done. As a business leader, you know that if you want something done, you have to follow through on it. I can’t count how many times I’ve been in meetings when there is a new initiative introduced, tasks are assigned, and there is no follow up. As you can guess, the initiative didn’t go anywhere. Great ideas, poor execution.
To be successful you have to plan, execute and measure. Keep in mind that it is extremely difficult to make a plan on January 1 that you can keep all year. The chaos of life, and any number of unforeseeable obstacles can get in your way. Review and visit you plan weekly. Set ten to fifteen minutes aside each week to set weekly commitments. This week, I am going to do these three things, above and beyond the chaos, to get closer to the goal. Also, in the brief meeting (even for yourself) track your progress on last weeks commitments. Be careful to not let excuses prevent you from meeting your commitments. Doing two to three things EACH week, will help you get closer to your goals.
When I first got a management job, my boss had a weekly staff meeting Monday mornings. She would pass down important information that we needed, and we would present progress, and issues we had the week before. Every Monday morning, when I’d get in the office, I’d start preparing for this meeting. And each week I’d ask myself the same question “What did I say I was going to do last week?” Then I’d scramble to find out what progress we made on those commitments.
Although the weekly accountability was useful, I probably could have been much more effective if I’d have kept some daily visual reminder of what we are accomplishing. Let me share a few examples. I watch (and coach) sports. In the game, everyone involved can generally see the score, and how much time is left (or inning in the case of baseball). Within an instant I know where we stand and what we need to do to be successful.
When you think of fundraisers, I’ve seen countless thermometers posted around offices showing how close we were to achieving a goal. These visual reminders will keep the commitments in the forefront of your mind, and your team. Scoreboards should be easy to update so they can be updated frequently and progress can be recognized. Using daily reminders will help prevent your goal from getting lost in the chaos.
Some of the best career advice I ever received was to set aside an hour a day thinking about my career. I was confused, because I was already working 9-10 hours each day, didn’t that count? What about the times when I wake up at 2:30am worrying about something at the office? Did that count? Nope. This wasn’t just random advice, last spring I was had the opportunity to see Jeffery Gitomer at an event. He asked the audience how many people spend time each day thinking. Of course, most of the room raised their hands. He then challenged us to show him where we block off time in our day to think. Hands went down.
It is important to block off and spend time making your commitments. You and I both know that if you don’t block off time, then something in your daily chaos will fill that time. We are all busy and have a million things fighting for our attention. If we will work towards our commitments “when we get a minute” we’ll never find time to get it done. If it is important, block time in your schedule to make things happen. This might mean getting up an hour earlier, or going to be an hour later. It might mean missing a happy hour every once in a while, but I assure you this discipline will pay HUGE returns.
This Week’s Challenge
Make a commitment to achieve your goals for this year. Either the business goals you set within your company, or for your personal resolutions. Maybe both. Follow the strategy I presented today and watch 2019 be the year you become a shining star!
If you would like to discuss more ways to help your business grow or if you feel you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, please reach out to me.