The blank slate of a new year is a marvellous thing, full of possibilities and potential. The early months of 2019 will be the perfect time to look back at what you achieved in 2018 and the challenges your business encountered, as well as to set your goals for the year ahead. However, rather like personal New Year’s resolutions, your business ambitions won’t be realised by magic, they require a regime of careful planning and regular implementation to generate results. Here’s our advice for making things happen in 2019.
Don’t move forward before you take the chance to look back. Split your reflection into three categories – your wins, your biggest challenges and where you are right at this moment. The first part of the work gives you the chance to digest and celebrate what went right and the impact of those wins. The second allows you to identify patterns (if there are any) of obstacles you faced and analyse how you dealt with them; and finally, you can take stock of where your business sits in the here and now, so you can start exploring your future potential.
One of the most effective goal setting methods is the GROW model, developed by a number of people in the 1980s and 1990s, including Sir John Whitmore. The ‘R’ in GROW stands for ‘Reality’ and is defined by looking honestly at where your business is right now, the challenges it faces and how far away you are from your goals. It comes as the second stage in the GROW model so feel free to shift these stages around, but for our purposes, this time of reflection is useful as a jumping off point before you start looking forward.
Set your goals
You may already have a clear idea of what your 2019 business goals are before you take stock, but hopefully, that thinking time will help you nail down the most important. In the GROW model, the ‘G’ stands for goal and you need to be very clear and precise about what that is. For each goal you have, be detailed – so if you want to increase your revenue (and who doesn’t?), you should put an exact percentage or figure on that goal. If your goals are not as tangible as facts and figures, make sure you get descriptive in your planning. If, for example, you want to improve your company’s culture, share your vision of how that looks, what it involves and the results, so you pitch it and get buy-in from senior management and stakeholders.
Above all, when you are creating goals, be bold and back yourself. Don’t be constrained by limiting beliefs because even if you have big, scary dreams that may feel out of your grasp, it’s essential to get them down and make a plan for them. It’s not a waste of time to dream big, and it’s a process that can take you further than you may believe you can go. Maybe you won’t get there by this time next year, but you could be much further forward on that journey.
Break it down
Once you have a list of goals, you need to make a definitive plan on how you can achieve them. That involves breaking them down into smaller parts so you can tackle each step. Here’s where we suggest you get a copy of The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, a fantastic writer and business expert who maps out a route to success by making small, daily choices that add up to great results. By creating successful habits and practising them every day, you build up to the goal you have set yourself – whatever it may be. The idea is that the steps you take are so manageable and regular that they are easy to achieve for anybody, no exceptions.
For you, that means taking each goal and working out what daily actions will get you closer to it. If you need to delegate those actions in your team, that’s a measurable and straightforward process. If these steps need to be taken by you, by being the person who sets the action and then monitors it, you have total control. However, if you worry that your motivation or focus might waver, it’s a good idea to have someone to hold you accountable, like a business coach who works outside of your organisation and has a fresh perspective to offer you.
Two OOs and a W
The ‘O’ in the GROW model covers two distinct sections – obstacles and options. When you unpick each goal, consider both the challenges you face to reaching it and the options that your current position affords you. By identifying the obstacles, you can plan to overcome them, often by considering your options. It’s a helpful, practical process that’ll reduce the chances of you hitting a roadblock midway through the year.
Finally, the ‘W’ stands for Way Forward, and that’s your roadmap for each goal. Your options will form the backbone of this plan, and then you’ll craft your ‘Slight Edge’ habits to help you move forward every day. Don’t overload yourself or your team with tasks, keep it fairly simple and manageable, and ensure that you are vigilant in monitoring progress. It’s important – particularly when you are working on these goals with a team – to get engagement from everyone in the process, so take the time to deliver your vision at the start and keep up the lines of communication. As you move through each month, things may need to be tweaked and changed as experience teaches you what works and what doesn’t. Be flexible and open to change, then incorporate that change into your routine.
Finally, enjoy this process and thinking about your business future. Small steps repeated often can help you achieve great things, you just have to be consistent. Make sure everyone who will contribute to your goals are on-board and excited about their role in this work. You can make these goals happen and reach this time next year feeling amazed at how far you’ve come. Good luck!
If you need any help or advice about the future for your business, get in touch at 01603 567794 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.