The End of the Year–What Did We Accomplish?
As we are at the end of 2010, one of the key questions that many business owners need to ask, sometimes don’t but always wonder why not is the simple question, “What did we accomplish this past year?” This is a simple question, however, the answer(s) are substantialy and significantly more complex. For a few minutes, let’s explore how we can address that question and if we are having difficulty in 2010 addressing those questions, perhaps we’ll have better luck in 2011.
The first key point is to identify some key goals that were to be accomplished in the past year. To be complete, these goals should be written down, documented and reviewed continually. This is not rocket science– simple goals, i.e., increase new customers by 4 each month is one example. Go to 3 networking events each quarter, one of which is NOT sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Hum– why a non Chamber event? Well, you might be able to enhance and increase your sphere of influence and meet other folks that you would not meet if only at a chamber event.
You need to review the goals each week and see how you are progressing toward goal attainment. Waiting until the end of the month to review a monthly goal is foolhardy– you have no more month left to make the behaviorial changes needed to accomplish the goal! For example, if the goal is to increase new accounts by 4 each month and you are at the 17th of the month and only have 1 new account, you know that you need to get 3 more new accounts by the 30th. That is only 10 business days in which to do that– that is one new account every 3 remaining business days. If it took you 14 business days to get one account that month, odds are you will not be able to achieve the goal. However, you have a better chance of achieving the goal on the 17th of the month than reviewing the data on the 30th of the month and have no month left in which to work!!
Perhaps at the 4 month point in the year, you may need to make a “field adjustment” in the goals. If you are exceeding the goals established at the first of the year consistently, then perhaps, the goal is not as robust as it needs to be. Goals should be attainable, however, not so easy that extra effort and work is not put forth. We don’t want the goal so robust that it cannot be attained under any circumstances, however, we want it rich enough to be able to cause some “stretching” action on the part of the staff.
Now is the right time for some year end reflection on how your organization has operated/performed this past year. There may have been some challenges that you were unhappy with. Now is the time to make the field adjustments to preclude those events from happening in the future! An easy way in which to do this is to identify categorically where changes should be made. Identify 3-6 categories, then list(identify) what characteristics you want to change in each category. Once you have the category identified, you can then identify the components on the category and list those. Now you have actionable steps which you can take to make effective change. Using this method, you will be able to have goals identified, actionable steps which comprise each goal and steps you can take to make sure that you are achieving the goal.
Good luck for 2011!! Some careful reflection time now will yield measurable results in 2011.