Organizations, just like the individuals working inside them, start the New Year with a refreshed outlook and a certain zest for exploring and achieving what’s possible. The holiday time off or the start of a new budget fuels the energy among the team and there’s fresh motivation blowing through like the AC at a packed post-New Year gym. As awesome as the new vibe feels, it often dies out before any real progress can be made toward the company’s prospective goals. Before long, the projects and priorities that would have paved the way for a “different” year ahead, get buried under more urgent matters. And once again, you’re off to a predictable start to a repeatable year with incremental success, when there could have been much more.
Here are 4 tips to hang on to the New Year zest and see your goals to their completion.
ONE: Focus on one thing at a time.
Realistically speaking, if you set too many goals, you’re setting yourself and your team up to fail. The business has to get done every day, and you’ll put out fires like the best of them. You know this, so why do you overload yourself each year with lofty lists of goals you’ll never even look at after January? You’re better off taking a more realist approach. Narrow your list to a handful of top priorities. Then, out of that handful, pick one new goal and focus on that one until it’s accomplished. Your team will respect and appreciate your modest leadership toward a single target and can devote concentrated attention to reaching the goal set forth.
You may find that focused attention on one goal at a time means you reach the goal with time to spare. Awesome! Then you can shift gears to a second goal. In this business climate, it can be exceptionally hard to maintain focus from one minute to the next, let alone from one impactful achievement to the next. But widespread research continues to point to focus as a mainstay of accomplishment. Prioritize your goals and start with the one on top, then work your way down. You might be surprised at the end of the year at the number of accomplishments you’ve stacked one by one.
TWO: Build an emotional connection to your goal.
An important tactic for both the leader and the team: an emotional connection drives the passion and perseverance toward any goal set forth. Obstacles like time management, misperceptions, discomfort with change, resource utilization, and communication are almost always going to get in the way. Make sure to clearly define the reason you and your team are working toward your collective goal so that everyone will be empowered to choose perseverance as each obstacle offers a less satisfying alternative. Verbalize your reason, and champion it through team affirmation and ritual (remembrance).
As a leader, and with your work to visualize what success looks like and place visual reminders of the success where you and your team can see them all the time. As you reach incremental benchmarks, celebrate those small wins and use the celebration to remind one another about how you’re advancing to the larger goal ahead.
THREE: Plan effectively.
The best predictor of success when it comes to accomplishing organizational goals is the amount of planning that gets done beforehand. Projects like new process implementation or new program development will likely succeed if they received enough time and attention during the planning phase to address all the needs and requirements to carry it to fruition.
We suggest setting aside time off-site if possible to avoid distractions and assemble some key guidelines. With time to focus, you can quickly gather a template for who, what, when, where, and how you’ll execute your goal as well as set mini-goals along the way. Include research and feedback collected to date, but then take the template to the field for more feedback to work out any kinks prior to implementation.
Pay close attention to the resources that will make the plan a success. Resources, of course, include an adequate budget, but also may look like key personnel with important expertise, tools, or dedicated space and time.
FOUR: Consider a professional consultant.
While you’re beefing up your resources to realize your goal effectively, you might consider what having a professional business coach or consultant could mean for your organization as you set off toward a new level of productivity. Internal staff offer invaluable insights and manpower to make achievement possible ut a consultant can help to bring everyone toward the collective goal faster and with less cost in terms of mistakes or time.
A consultant brings in specialized experience and a skill set that takes into account many obstacles and possibilities less specialized internal staff might miss. They often bring in proven methods and templates that save time. A consultant’s objective, yet specialized, insight supports an organization’s leaders, teams, and individuals in a unique way, helping to tease out their greatness within, and abdicate self-defeating tendencies. A consultant can help leaders maintain effective progress and plan for the next phase of growth.
The celebration at the end of one year and the beginning of the next tastes extra sweet when you’re looking back on a year of accomplishment and welcoming yet another. Think of the exuberance you’ll feel at the end of this year if you use these four tips to see even ONE goal to achievement. Cheers to making it happen this time!