It’s that time of year again! We just finished Halloween, the kids are jacked with a sugar rush from all the candy they received. We’re moving into the holidays filled with pie, cookies, family feasts and all the other treats this time of year brings! This is also a time when we begin to look back at what we accomplished this year, and perhaps start measuring how well we did compared to what we wanted to accomplish. How did you do? Well, if your still off track, or just want to end the year by finishing strong, it’s not too late! This week I am going to talk about how you can knock out those goals (or resolutions) you started but maybe didn’t complete this year!
I played sports when I was younger, and now I coach my kids as they play sports. One thing I remember my basketball and football coaches screaming at us as we were doing sprints at the end of a long practice was “The team that is in the best shape in the fourth quarter wins games!” They were right, many games are won or lost in the fourth quarter. Sports and business have so many parallels. We’re a third of the way through the fourth quarter of 2018. How can you finish strong?
Create a detailed plan and execute it. Hopefully you already have a plan, so the plan might just need adjusting. Again, in sports, coaches and players have a game plan before every game. They study the opponent, and they create a plan to give them the best chance to win. Inevitably, game conditions are not exactly as planned, and adjustments are made to the plan to adapt to conditions. Now is the time to evaluate your 2018 plan. You may have to reallocate resources or eliminate non-productive strategies. It is time to evaluate the game conditions (or business conditions) to determine what is working and what needs adjustment. Make the adjustments and execute.
There is a saying in business that what gets measured gets done. Set milestones, and measure your progress towards your goals. Measurements should be taken as often as practical. When you measure something, you focus on it. It becomes important. If you have to manufacture a certain number of widgets, count them. How many per week or day do you have to accomplish? Count them! Count them with your team. When you are focusing on the end goal, you’ll find that you’ll solve all the little problems in your way. You’ll find ways to get the parts you need, you’ll help someone who is falling behind. The team comes together to see the count increase.
You don’t manufacture widgets? The same happens with sales, consulting, administrative work. Whatever your job function is, create a goal and measure your progress against it. Don’t get discouraged if you fall short. Determine what went wrong, and how do I fix it. Remember it’s the fourth quarter, your job is to execute!
So many things compete for our time, and when you’re focused on finishing strong you don’t have the luxury of distractions. There is no such thing as multitasking. Our brains cannot process two things at time, and distractions come in many forms, email, phone calls, news stories, office gossip, or Sunday’s football games. Ask yourself, “How are any of these helping you achieve your goals?” Unless you’re on the coaching staff of a professional football team, there is no reason to relive yesterday’s game on Monday. We’ve all heard the advice to tun off our email or silence our phones when we’re working on a project. Very few of us do it. I will share this though, the most productive people I know have the uncanny ability to focus on the project at hand and block out all distractions. Eliminate the distractions, don’t try to multitask, and focus on the task in front of you. You’ll find you are much more productive, and will be able to finish the fourth quarter strong!
This Week’s Challenge
A client of mine shared a story with me last week. She was running her first (and only) marathon. After about 22 miles, she started to get so physically sick that she was vomiting. She said she seriously considered quitting and trying again at another time. She had about four miles left and she was considering starting over! Eventually she came to her senses and finished the last four miles.
Many of us will get to this time of the year, see they are short of their goal, and decide they’ll try next year. This week’s challenge is to not give up. You’ve come this far, and you only have four miles left! Finish the marathon!
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.