If you’re anything like me, as the new year comes around, we start thinking about what we want to do differently, right? Maybe kick a bad habit or hit the gym more often (my plan 🤣). We often end up not reaching these goals because we have trouble figuring out the steps to make them happen. We imagine what we could achieve but don’t have a clear plan, so we do not take action.
The same holds for work-related New Year resolutions. You’re not alone if you’re jotting down stuff like “get more clients” or “expand our market share” for the company. But let’s be realistic for a second – are those goals clear? Saying “win more clients” sounds cool, but it’s vague. What’s the plan, and when are we aiming to hit these goals? A month? A quarter? Without the details, we’re setting ourselves up for a letdown.
It can slow down their teams if leaders aren’t clear about where they’re going. Winning needs more than just a plan; it needs a ready and motivated team. When deciding what your company wants to do, you need to think hard about it. Make clear goals and use a structured framework to share with everyone involved. This keeps everyone focused and excited, moving the team toward hitting those goals.
I always give myself three recipes for success: clear goals, a structured strategic framework, and a fully prepared team with all the skills to win.
Defining crystal-clear goals
When discussing “Key Goals for the Upcoming Year,” we ask ourselves what specific achievements we target in the next twelve months. It’s about being crystal clear on what we want to accomplish. We can use the SMART framework to give these goals more structure and clarity. This framework breaks down goals into Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound components.
By adopting the SMART approach, we not only define our goals with laser precision but also set ourselves up for a more strategic and effective execution in the future. Think of a key performance indicator that is tangible and super clear for those who must achieve it; the more clear and measurable, the higher the likelihood of achieving it.
Here’s an example.
Creating a structured strategic framework
The big lesson at NVIDIA was keeping the plan “napkin-sized.” I distinctly remember the CEO writing down the plan on a napkin, keeping it straightforward with just a few words but crystal clear. It was a simple yet powerful way to get the whole organization on the same page.
When working with my clients, I encourage them to condense all they want to convey onto a small piece of paper. This approach enforces focus and eliminates distractions, given the limited physical space available for information. The magic happens when you see the ‘essentials’ written down—it becomes easier to grasp and appears much more manageable than a large mountain.
So, for your framework, boil it down to the essentials – have your key goals (just 3 to 5), and lay out the objectives for each of these goals. Break it down into a handful of key strategies to make those goals happen. It is simple effective, and it keeps everyone focused.
Strategies are a set of choices. They are like a roadmap, guiding your actions to reach a goal. In a nutshell, they’re the plans that lead you to success in achieving what you want. The strategy for our SMART KPI example would be “Implementing a customer feedback system, conducting monthly surveys, and addressing identified issues within a two-week timeframe.”
An essential aspect is evaluating the effectiveness of your strategies. If they’re not yielding the desired results, it’s time to consider alternatives. I suggest incorporating “EIOFS” into your approach. EIOFS, or “Early Indicator of Future Success,” helps assess whether the goals set with KPIs are showing the expected results.
To illustrate, let’s revisit the SMART KPI example.
A potential EIOFS could be a noticeable uptick in positive feedback or improved survey ratings within the first few weeks of implementing the customer feedback system and survey initiatives. This early positive response might indicate the effectiveness of the strategies put in place and could serve as an encouraging sign toward achieving the overall satisfaction target.
However, if these early results are not evident, you must immediately recognize the need to tweak and adjust your strategy. Now that we have our objectives and strategies, let’s discuss tactics.
Tactics are like the detailed moves that make our plans work. For instance, if our SMART KPI is to ‘Increase Customer Satisfaction by 15% in six months,’ a tactic could be rolling out a customer loyalty program with exclusive benefits. It’s a specific move that directly supports our strategy and gets us closer to hitting that satisfaction goal. As mentioned, opt for a few strategic ones, not too many.
Cultivating Skills and Expertise
Another essential thing to consider is your team’s skills and knowledge.
From my experience leading teams, I’ve always focused on helping my team continuously improve. Developing individual skills isn’t just about personal growth; it also boosts the chances of success for the whole organization. When your team hone their skills, their confidence rises, productivity rises, and positive results naturally follow.
They tend to share that knowledge with others as they become more knowledgeable, making everyone better. This fosters a more relaxed and trustworthy environment where collaboration is adequate, and the calm atmosphere reduces stress.
In my current role as an executive consultant, I’ve observed that many companies face challenges in leadership, communication, and productivity, hindering their success. These challenges often lead to trust problems, declining motivation, reduced performance, and losing valuable talent.
Leaders frequently encounter difficulties that go beyond their current skills. They may require support adapting to organizational changes, aligning teams with new goals, or enhancing communication to elevate morale and collaboration.
Great communication is crucial. Ensuring everyone understands the plan and their role in it is key. Managers should be clear with their team, share goals, provide helpful feedback, and support the team to do their best. It’s not just about talking but ensuring effective communication, avoiding misunderstandings, and keeping everyone clear on their roles and goals.
Productivity is a big deal, too, as companies often waste a lot of time on tasks that don’t matter, taking attention away from more important work. Taking control of your time to prioritize tasks and ensure you’re being as productive as possible is essential.
Gear Up for 2024!
As we prepare for 2024, one key thing is ensuring our leaders, teams, and employees have all the skills required to succeed. Investing resources to improve your job isn’t just for personal improvement; it makes the whole team and company smarter.
Whether through training, workshops, or having mentors, creating a culture of continuous improvement helps each person grow and sets the company up for success.
Here’s to a fantastic and super-productive 2024! 🚀
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