If you are like many of my clients, you’ve started the new year with a clear set of business objectives, meaningful priorities, and tangible action steps. And you likely have a few personal goals as well (eat a healthy diet, get to the hotel gym when traveling, spend more time with your family…).
And now that we are in mid-January, let me ask you…
- How’s it going so far?
- Are your professional and business plans falling nicely into place?
- Or have the fires of the day already begun to pull you away from the best of intentions?
If you said yes to that last question, believe me, you are in very good company. Distractions abound and it is all too easy to be dragged into urgencies that may not align with your key objectives.
Take heart. It is still just January. Why not shift gears today, to quickly get back on track, re-focus yourself and your team, and start saying ” No!” to the myriad distractions conspiring to take you off course?
Your Accelerating Success Action Plan™
The beginning of a new year is the ideal time to take a strategic pause, to reflect on what you most want to accomplish and identify what is no longer of importance…. to take stock of your Q1 and year-long goals, decide whether you’ve chosen well, and ensure you are making the best decisions and getting the right things done.
In my book, Slow Down to Speed Up: Lead, Succeed and Thrive in a 24/7 World , I provide an array of tools to guide both thoughtful reflection and meaningful action. Start here with the following 14 reflection prompts. Ask yourself (and your team) the following:
- What do I want to achieve: this quarter, in six months, one year, five, or even ten years down the road?
- What is the compelling vision that drives my actions and inspires my team, department, and business?
- How will we truly differentiate ourselves from the competition?
- How will I identify, attract, develop, and retain the best and the brightest?
- How rapidly must we grow—and how will we stay on course amid the challenges that come with this kind of growth?
- How can we innovate to meet (or create) future market need?
- Where can we leverage organizational strengths and marketplace opportunities?
- Are we consistently focusing on the right things? And are we saying NO often enough?
- What’s at stake if I (we) don’t achieve these goals?
- What is the full cost of doing nothing?
- Where and how should I spend my time and resources?
- With whom must I align, develop trust, communicate, and collaborate?
- How can I (we) build upon past successes and strengths to accelerate progress?
- What are the potential obstacles to success — and how will we avoid or overcome them?
Review your responses and use them to craft your plan. Select no more than three goals at a time. Then, as you meet with success, you can begin to focus on additional goals to support your long-term vision.
When you are ready, track your goals on your Accelerating Success Action Plan™ (ASAP). You can download a PDF of the ASAP here. You can also use my 36 Actions to Accelerate Success cards as a fun reminder of the many ways to use your time most wisely, strategically, and effectively. (Some of my clients like to share these cards with colleagues and direct reports, to help them stay focused and productive even as the days grow busier and more distracting.)
Be sure to print out your plan review it daily. You can bring it to alignment discussions with your manager, colleagues, and team. You can also have your direct reports create their own action plans, focused on creating business value, developing leadership finesse, progressing in their careers, and ensuring a solid plan of succession.
For additional tools and advice, check out my website, book, and videos to help you and your organization Slow Down to Speed Up™ in the new year. Be sure to let me know how you’re doing, share where you may feel stuck, and, if you would like my help, just say the word.
To a resoundingly successful 2019!