How to Plan Your Best Year of Progress Ever!January 15, 2010
If you said “yes” to any of the above questions keep reading or listen to to the video version below…
The One Year Plan of Strategic Focus – The 10 Goals Approach
As I reflect on my entrepreneurial career and interactions with my coaching clients, I am sure of one thing: many of the concepts that produce the best strategic results tend to be simple in nature. That is certainly a good thing when you seek to learn how to implement change that can shape a brighter future for you professionally and personally. I believe it is all about the concept of focusing on progression, not perfection. I am sure you have heard that cliché before, but I can attest to the immense impact it has had on my life and career. I will be sharing one concept I have been using annually for over a decade that is brilliant. This tool was created by the Strategic Coach, a coaching program of which I have been a client since 2000.
Though this concept can be initiated at any time during a business year, I find it most meaningful to begin in December/January as you end or begin a new calendar year (hence my sharing this with you now). I can assure you, if you have a scheduled and systematic way to plan and measure progress, you will continually have the ability to walk into a brighter future. At the heart of most entrepreneurs and goal-oriented leaders is the pursuit of new levels of accomplishment while breaking through new complexities and challenges. It gets our juices flowing to walk into what frightens others and figure out ways around deterrents. I have seen many who have done a decent job of reaching levels of success without a systematic approach. However, I believe if they applied this system they would have reached it more quickly, or perhaps gone places they couldn’t have even imagined in that duration. I recognize there are many approaches that can bring about success and progress. My goal isn’t to argue that point, it is simply to encourage you to consider implementing this new approach and to measure how it impacts your company, career and life.
Six Steps to Incorporate a One Year Plan and 10 Goals Approach
Though there are endless possibilities in how you can build a One Year Plan for your business and/or life, the following ideas are designed to encourage you in taking the first steps:
1. Select Your Leadership Team – Unless you work solo, I strongly recommend you select at least one (if not a few) key employees or partners to help you go through this process. I find different minds bring interesting perspective and help leaders see what they can’t because they are too close to the challenges. I acknowledge you need the right people on the bus helping you, though I find even new employees can bring interesting perspective. If you don’t have any co-workers, then I recommend you seek your spouse or peers that you respect to get their input as you go through this together, much like a non-profit selecting a board of directors.
2. Independently Brainstorm Potential Top Goals – You should then work independently and list out the top strategic goals, changes or areas of improvement that you would like to see within the company. Don’t set any limits on how many. For the detailed people, tell them to shoot for anywhere from 1-10, though more is acceptable if they get fired-up. I recommend they then send their suggestions to you before you meet as a team.
3. Combine Leadership Team Goals – Take everyone’s goals, make a comprehensive list and make sure you assign a number to each one to make group discussion easier. You can delegate this task to an executive assistant if you have one. If you are doing this personally, then after you are done, highlight which of the collective 10 goals you believe make the most immediate and largest impact in the next year for the business. If your team’s total list is less than 10, then just highlight which ones you believe are the most important. Normally, teams have more than 10 from which to choose, especially if you do this process annually and some of last year’s goals modify and/or carry over into the new year.
4. Discuss and Select the Top 10 Goals for your One Year Plan – Have a team meeting to discuss why you choose the 10 goals you did. List them out and put all of the other ones you didn’t select but felt had some merit in another column. Survey the group to see if you can get a majority or unanimous vote on any of your top 10. If so, they become final selections. Debate the others with an open mind to embrace team input and determine which ones truly should remain. Ideally don’t exceed more than 10 goals, however, because you will find if you are specific enough with each one it will be a lot to accomplish all 10 in the course of a year. If you accomplish them all ahead of schedule then focus on additional ones. The more your team feels like their voice was heard, the more power you will get in support and accomplishing them. Make sure each goal is specific and then assign each one to have a personal leader within your team. That person will be held accountable to achieving it, even if others are selected to help them.
5. Final 3rd Party Coach or Peer Mentor Review – If you do not have a business coach, I encourage you to find another leader that could serve as a peer mentor. Preferably this will be a person who either knows your business well or who might even be in a related field. I believe getting outside input allows you to see things that many times you or your team cannot, and perhaps slight modifications or changes to your top 10 goals could be the fruit of the labor in this step.
6. Quarterly Progress and Accountability Measuring – The last step is to meet quarterly and chart on-going progress towards the goal vs. the incremental goal set for that quarter (if applicable). This allows you to prioritize as a team, deal with complexities you run into mid-stream, etc. I also find doing this at an off-site location works best. My team does this at our quarterly, off-site management retreats. It allows each person to offer deeper value and insights while not being distracted. I also think the right environment brings much more creativity.
I find the above process can be useful for a personal, One Year Life Plan, as well for individuals that are exploring a new career direction or a personal life transformation. The applications are virtually endless, even if the tool was created for business owners and leaders.
I help my coaching clients focus on matters like these so they can see their business become more efficient, profitable and scalable, if desired. I also help them achieve better balance professionally and personally so they can see their business truly work to support their life purpose and vision. If you want to find out more about how this could be leveraged in your world, or if you want to discuss a business problem you are facing, feel free to contact me or call me at 717-615-2274.You are also welcome to share this article or other resources found on my blog (www.livewithpurposecoaching.com). Feel free to contact me if you or an associate would like to join my blog or receive this article as a PDF.