On this Tuesday morning, during that delightfully quiet last week before the new year begins, sipping a really good cup of coffee, listening to some of my favorite music, I’m thinking about New Year’s resolutions.
Business or personal, it’s no coincidence that a lot of us look to the turning of the new year for leverage to turn some new leaves. We focus on what we want to change. Let’s do it differently this year. Let’s do it better. It’s a new beginning, a new morning.
There are three fundamentals of business planning that apply very well to those New Year’s Resolutions. Test yourself and your resolutions with these three business planning questions:
1. Is it realistic?
Unrealistic goals don’t work. In business planning, unrealistically optimistic projections don’t work. When the bar is too high, reasonable people don’t jump. For example, don’t resolve to lose 100 pounds, or win the Boston Marathon, or not get angry; resolve instead to eat healthier, get regular exercise, or count to pause and breathe when you’re angry. Look for achievable steps.
2. Is it strategic?
You can’t do everything so you want to focus on doing the right thing. In business planning, the more the priorities, the less the chance of implementation. In New Year’s Resolutions, the more you make, the less you keep. Don’t resolve to remake everything. Resolve to do one thing that’s really important.
3. Is it measurable?
Being human, we need to see progress. Good business planning needs metrics, tasks, numbers, concrete specifics we can use to track progress towards goals. So do New Year’s Resolutions. Boil those bigger goals into manageable pieces. For example, resolve to lose two pounds a month, not 25 pounds; or resolve to spend an hour a week reading, not to stop all television.
Good luck with it, and best wishes to you for the New Year.