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Planning for a great new year

Planning is so important - in business and in life.

Here’s a glimpse at how the process works for me.

It all starts with looking back at the year you’re in: where are you landing compared to what you had set for goals last year. Page 23 & 22 of my book introduces the concept of situational analysis problem solving, a “how did you do that” exercise to figure out:

  • What worked really well vs. what didn’t?

  • Why did it work well, what are the components?

  • What did you control vs what you couldn’t control - how could you leverage the opportunity. Read more in the book to really dig into this.

It’s important to analyze both the good and the bad in order to have a clear understanding and an engaging plan that works.

My visualtion turtle - it's how I remember my focus.

Next it’s time to plan the next year based on your new goals. Break it down by long term goals vs short term goals. Keep your goals in front of you: business, team, family, life… it’s all the same concept. Don’t forget to visualize, keep your reminders in front of you. For example, I use the turtle as my business model visual to keep my business alignment simple, fun, and clear to everyone on the team. 

How you measure your success is important - update your goals, based on your review of the previous year, and set mile markers that you can track. Think about things like, are you keeping the same metrics, are they realistic and obtainable, how will I know when I have reached this goal, don’t change too much at once. But be able to measure progress and success.

Now it’s time to make it happen within the organization, your team, life, etc.

A concept I learned early on, that has made a huge difference, is to have a Communication Strategy for everyone involved.

Break everything down into 4 categories, People, Customer Service, Best Practices (operational effectiveness), and Results. IN THAT ORDER. Results should be at the end because if you do 1, 2, and 3 correctly, you will have success. What we are seeing more and more, especially with the pandemic, is that we as a society, i.e. corporate America, are recognizing that we need to focus more and more on people… valuing people over results.

So, what do I mean? Not all tasks related to your plan are going to fit into each category, but this is the general idea.

  1. PEOPLE - Ask yourself, am I valuing my people, do they feel valued, am I communicating the vision? What are we doing for our people? Are we still going in the same direction? You need to communicate your vision to people. Example: Moving meetings to a virtual format to continue to serve your clients. How will you communicate this?

  2. CUSTOMER SERVICE - In addition to good communication, your customers need to feel valued, you need to make things work for clients. Take that virtual meeting for instance, now that we have gone to a new platform, explain where we are at, where we are going, and how we are going to make it work for the customer. Clearly demonstrate value to them.

  3. BEST PRACTICES - This is about continuous reflection, learning, and implementing improvement.  Building this concept into your daily "norm" within your life/team's workday, every day. It is about identifying challenges, workflows. For a virtual meeting, know if your technology is strong, test it ahead of time, who is calling who, have a tip sheet, continuous improvement of what works for clients. Again, demonstrating value.

  4. RESULTS - How will you gauge your results?

Build this into everything and when you’re writing an agenda for your team, you should be talking about these 4 points. Incorporate it into a performance review and focus on these areas, highlight what worked within 4 categories.

With continuous reinforcement of your business guiding principles (People, Customer Service, Best Practices, Results) with all of your actions - reflecting from your past, learning from it, applying simple core practices that support your vision within your organizations' diverse teams, this is the blend of structure and discipline, that will help you achieve and exceed your goals.

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