It’s a New Year and you have a list of personal, professional and business goals. Data says you will fail at most of them. Sorry for the cold hard truth so early in the year. But do you have to fail? What can you do differently to increase your chance of success?
I find myself in the usual January position of resolving to be healthier in the New Year. My intentions are as pure as the snowfall outside but I also feel the stinging reality of having to declare the same goals anew that I just made 12 short months ago.
Fully informed goals are reachable goals
To be fair, looking back I did make some progress this year, but I’m not sure what was purposeful and what was a “happy coincidence.” To really be effective in reaching this year’s goals, I need to better understand how I go about my daily routine, understand my moments of weakness, identify bad habits and better learn where to focus my efforts. Essentially, I need to understand my processes before I boldly declare my goal of losing 30 pounds and running in my first marathon (or running at all for that matter). Fully informed goals are reachable goals.
To be healthier this year, I need to document my caloric intake, keep a log of how frequently I exercise and identify whether it’s my sweet tooth or lazy bones that are getting me into the most trouble. When I understand the steps I’m taking, I can start to identify where my effort succeeds and where it falls short. If you don’t fully understand your processes, then making the right kinds of changes can be difficult and frustrating.
Having fully informed goals are relevant in your personal and professional life. The foundations and behaviors are the same and when you master them can be applied in a broad fashion. So how do you translate this to your business?
You don’t need to know every little step in your procedures, but it is crucial to know the “who, what and why” of your key processes.
The WHO: Who is it that drives the success of your process? Who are your bottlenecks to information flow? Who is it that holds the real knowledge of the process? If Gladys from accounting decides to retire this year and take 35 years’ worth of business knowledge with her, do you know all the ins and outs of what she does to help you succeed?
THE WHAT: Take an honest assessment of the number of steps involved in your key business processes. Do you really know what the steps in the process really are? I’ve found that most of us don’t really know the details of each and every step. Getting your process documented fully is a key to following it more closely and improving it more quickly.
THE WHY: Why do you follow the steps in your process? Is it because you’ve always done it that way or because it works? Is it to satisfy the software platform you’ve chosen? Don’t let software or technology define how you do business. Understand why you follow the path you take and then follow it all the way to saved time and saved money.
I plan on making a big difference in how I do things this year, but I know it will take discipline and some close attention to the details. I will take the time to understand, document and refine my own processes so that a year from now I can be proud of my success. Who’s with me?