Not Your Old-School New Year’s Resolutions

While there are many traditions worth following, I’ve noticed that the practice of proclaiming New Year’s resolutions often sets people up for failure. They get overly excited about something and quickly commit before thoroughly thinking through what is actually required to deliver. Case in point, the influx into fitness gyms during the first two weeks of January, followed by a mass exodus by mid-February.

The same issue crops up in business, for example, when executives set pie-in-the-sky goals to improve on last year’s results without proper planning. That’s not to say that setting goals is a poor idea; in fact the opposite is true. However, the key lies in the execution – here are a few thoughts to consider when setting goals for the year.

— Focus on the Motivation: What is actually driving your goals? You may want to improve customer satisfaction by a certain percentage by Q2 2016, but consider evaluating your current benchmarks to determine why it needs improvement. Are there specific issues with your product, customer service reps or corporate communication processes that need addressing? Focusing on the “why” will help your team develop meaningful goals that will move the needle in driving success for the whole company.

— Don’t Go It Alone: Make sure to rally the troops before putting a stake in the ground. Securing team-wide accountability and support for a major goal is necessary for meeting all the milestones that lead up to the big results. Also take the time to clearly communicate goals internally before sharing them with external parties – this will help avoid alienating employees and give them a greater sense of team in approaching objectives.

— Plan for Follow-Through: Sure, setting goals makes people feel good, but the follow-through is often hard work. Approaching the goal-setting process with a healthy dose of realism is vital. Develop a solid plan that accounts for all steps required to move forward, including determining metrics and benchmarks that will prove you were successful when you deliver results.

Ultimately it can serve us well to set resolutions to move forward in both our personal and business lives – it helps us stay focused and organized with our eyes on the prize. And in business, the exercise works particularly well for unifying multiple individuals to collaborate toward a specific vision. Wishing our clients, friends and readers a successful 2016…and may your resolutions come to fruition!

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