If you haven’t set your goals for 2008, now is the time to do it. Do you think you are too busy to bother with the details of planning? Do you assume it won’t make a diff erence in next year’s outcome? Do you feel that goal-setting is for amateurs? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are holding yourself back from reaching your full potential. Even the most sophisticated executives perform this yearly ritual. Why?
If you haven’t set your goals for 2008, now is the time to do it. Do you think you are too busy to bother with the details of planning? Do you assume it won’t make a diff erence in next year’s outcome? Do you feel that goal-setting is for amateurs? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are holding yourself back from reaching your full potential. Even the most sophisticated executives perform this yearly ritual. Why? Because it works for them, and it will for you as well.
No matter what your job, formalizing goals into a solid plan will make the difference between experiencing an average year or a great one. Your plan will provide you with direction, help you establish your priorities and keep you focused so you can move forward in your personal and professional lives.
Without a doubt, setting goals may be difficult at the beginning because the process requires discipline and decision-making. But when you are finished, your sense of accomplishment will make it all worthwhile. Make an appointment with yourself to get started. Use the following steps to help guide you through the process:
- Write down what you accomplished in the past year. What new skills did you learn? How much profit did your company make, or how much did you bring to your company? How many new accounts did you open? How are you performing in your job? What new skills did you learn?
- Analyze the data. What brought about positive results? Taking more time to stay in contact with customers? Hiring a new office manager? Restructuring your business? Training your sales force? Getting up early to work out? Forming that taskforce to help find solutions to improve morale? Working with a trusted advisor to help you make better business or career decisions?
- Identify the greatest challenges you faced. What were your biggest issues? Too much to do, too little time? Job stress? Juggling projects and worrying things will fall through the cracks? Price resistance? Fierce competition? Balancing business and personal life? Th ese are on the lists of most professionals today.
- List what created negative results. Spending too much time chasing small accounts? Poor work processes? Poor judgment? Procrastination? Unproductive meetings? Lack of focus? Failure to speak up when you know you should? Not getting enough sleep? Failure to LISTEN?
- Identify where you could have made improvements. Take a good, hard look at yourself. You are the only one to see what you write, so be brutally honest. Where do you need improvement? Better interpersonal skills? More discipline and stronger commitment? Better money management? Changing your selling style to a more consultative approach with customers? Mastering business skills you lack? Working harder on management/employee relationships? Finding an outlet, such as exercise to help manage your stress? Learning to accept today’s business world of tough competition. Facing the other challenges of life head-on? Accepting “what is” and just doing your very best? More balance in your business and personal life?
- Recognize what you could have done differently. Could you have negotiated more often, instead of walking away? Gathered more information or conducted more research? Attempted to approach your job with more creativity? Played less golf and spent more time on the phone? Handled difficult people and situations with more tact and diplomacy? Prepared more thoroughly to avoid floundering or cleaning up a mess? Delegated or outsourced projects to others? Blocked out more time to work on projects undisturbed?
- List the new skills you need. Remember, if you want to hit today’s goals, you need tomorrow’s skills. You may have the motivation to achieve your goals, but may need a new set of skills to help you achieve success. Whatever skills you had last year, you must adopt new skills this year. Plan to go out and get the skills you need; don’t wait for a manager to send you to a class. Take responsibility yourself to enroll in a college course, take an online program, buy a book or hire a personal coach to teach you the skills you need.
- Write your goals for 2008. Keep personal and professional goals separate. Set your expectations and goals high, but make sure they are achievable. Maybe you want to bring in ten new accounts, but eight would be a more realistic goal. Perhaps you need to start a project you’ve been postponing or want to pay off your credit card debt. Documenting goals is crucial to your success.
- Strategize to reinvent yourself! Develop your own strategic plan to help you to achieve those goals and become the person you want to be. For example, to get eight new accounts, you may need to obtain more referrals from existing customers, swipe some from your competition and/or develop new relationships. How will you accomplish this? To lose 20 pounds, you may have to go to the gym and give up sugar. To improve management-employee relationships, you may have to spend twenty minutes a day talking with your people. To bring in more business, you may need to arrange customer focus groups to learn what the customer wants from your product and your company.
- Create a Step-by-Step ACTION PLAN to follow. Take your calendar and write down start days. This takes time. You may even need several days to analyze, strategize and create the plan, but your results will be worth the effort. Remember these tips to help you stay on track:
- Make a commitment to yourself to implement your new strategies.
- Review your goals frequently. Develop a special time to do this, such as at the end of every month.
- Focus on the process as well as your goals. Take care with the day-to-day activities that will help you reach your goals. Spend your time on activities which breed results.
- Expect to succeed in each area, but be resourceful and ask for advice if needed.
- Surround yourself with friends who support you and your goals.
- Do your best in all things and keep your eye on the prize. This can produce an enormous sense of accomplishment along the way as you experience personal and professional growth!
Keep your eye on your goals and your whole being will follow. Goals are for the making and the rewards will be all yours. TPW