Happy New Year!
It’s a new year and I’m a process and planning person, so that means I’m supposed to be the one asking:
- What are your goals for the new year?
- Have you reviewed your long-range plan?
- Do you have measurable objectives established for you and your team?
But. I’m. Not.
They should already be in place from last year!
Goal-setting and planning are often thought of as stand-alone events that happen once a year with great flourish and fanfare, more often than not at an offsite location where the leadership is quarantined off from the masses to establish the direction of the organization for the next 365 days, or perhaps longer.
While I am a proponent of leadership planning retreats, (after all if you aren’t at the office you aren’t distracted by operations), and having a strategic plan, the annual goal-setting exercise, when isolated, does not cultivate the fertile ground from which prosperity can grow; cultivation is an ongoing, year-around process.
Don’t get me wrong, if you are setting goals and reviewing plans and establishing performance metrics, I’m very happy! Let’s just take it a step further and establish the goal-reviewing, plan tweaking, measurement, and course overhauls that will be needed throughout the year.
Depending on the nature of your business, this may need to be done as often as monthly or can be done quarterly. Any less than quarterly and things can get away from you before you know it. Pick a day of the week that you generally can block a couple of hours, and put a reoccurring (monthly? every two months? quarterly?) event on your calendar now. Set your availability as busy. Treat the time as you would a mandatory meeting with your boss/client. When the time comes, here’s your agenda:
- Spend part of the time reviewing data supporting your goals and progress toward your benchmarks. Are you under-performing? Right on track? Are you blowing it out of the water?
- Determine what actions need to be taken regarding your performance so far. Do you need to determine why you are where you are? Do you need to establish more realistic (more or less challenging) goals based on true capacity?
- Next, review the performance data and possible actions with your team. Discuss trends they are experiencing, clear paths and obstacles they are encountering. Allow honesty and be open to the discussion. Just because you have given this some thought already, keep open ears, you may find that the boots on the ground are walking a different path than you perceive.
- Review needed actions and formalize any plan/goal/measure changes and add them to your planning documents.
- Continue to gather data and repeat on your next scheduled review.
This doesn’t have to take very long – an hour or two max, if you keep up on data gathering and do the review routinely. With a regular goal and performance measurement planning/reviewing, you see your progress and see your needs year-around and are prepared no matter what date the calendar says.
In business, as in life, the best resolution is to not have to make any resolutions – because you already have a plan and are working it! So, I won’t be asking about your resolutions, let’s bypass the rhetoric and blah, blah, blah that we typically spew forth this time of year and instead establish or continue our routine of evaluation and planning.
I will, however, wish you a Happy New Year! May you be prosperous in all your endeavors.