I don’t know about you, but I am FIRED UP for 2017!! I have spent the last week or so doing goal setting and strategic thinking for the year ahead. On the advice of one audio blog, I spent some time listing everything I’d do if I could. No judgment, no fear. Just make the list. Some are crazy and pretty much unlikely. But, the exercise of just putting stuff on paper was highly impactful. Some…just might make the cut as I continue to refine and make plans for the year ahead.
Whatever you do, be deliberate. Whether for yourself or your organization, don’t just think about it. Put it in writing. Make plans. Get everyone on the same page – focused, aligned, and prioritized. As General Eisenhower once famously suggested: “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything!”
On the professional / organizational side, I ask you these basic questions:
1. Does your team have a written, basic plan to guide your strategic direction for this next year?
2. Do you have a handful of basic goals that focus time/energy on the answers to this basic question – Who are our primary customers and what do they want from us?
3. Do you have a plan to review progress against those goals? Remember, what the leader in-spects, the people will re-spect. What is the frequency of these progress reviews and how will you hold people accountable?
4. How are you communicating those goals to your internal and external stakeholders?
5. Does your plan address these 5 common challenges that we find with most organizational goals (Own it if you can’t give unqualified ANSWERS!!!)
a. Do your goals focus INWARD and on yourself versus on your CUSTOMERS and those you serve?
b. Do your goals further reinforce stovepipe behavior (i.e. accomplishment of the goals – by design – causes people or teams to focus on themselves and not corporate/team success)?
c. Do your goals fail to inspire? (For example, are they written to challenge and stretch people or will they happen on their own? Yawn!) Do you have AT LEAST one BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) for the year ahead?
d. Do you confuse mission for goals? (Mission is what you are told to do, whereas true goals are determined by you in areas where you will do what you do…better, cheaper, safer, faster, and in specific ways that address the needs of your customers)
e. Are your goals just “To Do” lists? (Do this by June 30th, i.e. written as on/off switches versus written in ways that can be measured regularly and you can see the needle move; most “To Do” list items are not truly goals but they are the “HOW” you will get to your goals) Make sure you are not taking your eye off the ball and focusing on the HOW versus the clearly defined WHAT!
If your answer to any of these questions was, “Uh…,” then let’s talk. This is a major point of emphasis for our team this year. We want to help others develop fundamentally sound strategic plans, with a governance structure and communication strategies to gain consensus and alignment within the team and among key groups whose help is needed to make the plan happen. Let’s do this!