Year-end reviews completed, merit increases announced, holiday hours are over, but what’s still in draft version? The beginning of the year is a time to set goals, and here is a different (I think easier) way to do it…especially for those in the “procrastination zone.”
The first place to start is to review on the success over the past 2 years. You’ve had to adapt, and from this, you’ve become leaner, more efficient, and realized conventional wisdom maybe wasn’t that wise?
Be as honest as you can when doing your assessment, don’t overthink it, and write it out the way it comes to you, not how others would read it. Think about each department/vertical/solution/location so this assessment can be specific enough upon which to build your goals; most of all, get your people behind them!
Second step (it gets a lot easier from here): For each success, you need to make a decision; decide what you want to Grow, Maintain, and Suspend. Growth is obvious, think double digit. Maintain is something you have worked up to a solid result and you wish to keep at an even pace, think 1-5%. Suspend is hard to do, it’s like saying “no” to your customer. But remember with the extra time and energy used to limp that goal along, you could have doubled your teams’ efforts on the growth goals.
Qualitative goals are a great place to start defining your goals. Think about what great looks like to achieve each goal. Then, add in the quantitative metrics like KPIs and financial goals. If you don’t have these metrics, look to your peers, competitors, industry standards, and white papers, since they most likely have already been established.
Tip: Do not fall victim to the 12-month forecast, those rarely work, as it is not flexible enough for a small business to navigate from. Instead use 3-6 (max) months to lay out your plan, build your forecast, and determine the KPIs. This is a more approachable way to set goals. It will keep you, your company, and your employees more involved and in more control of making a difference without constraints of unattainable goals set too early in the year.
The third step: Set the meeting and pitch your goals to the team! Break your team into groups, or if you don‘t have the time, ask them to work together and come back to you with their suggestions/edits. There is something quite powerful that happens by allowing your team to take ownership of their goals, even making changes to them before they are set. With the mutual respect you shared with them during this process, it creates energy towards high achievement.
Finally, when all is done, write it up, push out to team leads, and it’s off to the races!