Don’t look now, but by the end of January, over 8% of the year is already over!
If like most business leaders, your world largely revolves around the calendar – your budget, program management, professional development, and new business goals are all gauged by the marking of time. As with most business leaders, you probably use the start of a new year as a chance to assess, update, and renew all of the important objectives and measures of progress for your business as well.
Annual reports often go out in January; staff meetings that kick-off the new year and define the annual business goals take place right after the holidays; and so on.
Leadership is a constant, so it does not necessarily need arbitrary timelines to be applied, but the timeframe provided by the start of a new year is a natural breaking point and mile marker for assessment and achievement. This is a very natural routine that the tilting of the planet and human nature have established, but these rituals only actually mean something if you use the calendar and the start of the new year effectively.
Therefore, as a quality control check on your leadership, consider the following advice as we mark the passing of 8.33% of 2013:
Include your staff in setting goals for the year
If you have not gathered your team yet in 2013 for a discussion about your organization’s goals for the year and their role in contributing to your success, do it now. Heck, only 8% of the year has passed! It’s not too late to include your whole team in the strategic planning process for your organization.
Assess your staff’s response to the goals
If you did conduct a strategy session for your team after holidays, then it’s time to bring them together to meet again. Heck, 8% of the year is already over! Meet with them again either individually or as a group to provide them direct feedback on their contributions to the goals laid out in that first meeting of the year.
What has been the internal response to your directives and the process of collaborative strategic planning? When you do establish set goals and point to a “destination postcard” (see: Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard), you may notice different responses within your team. Some members of your team may make a real commitment to the organization’s goals, while others may resist change or avoid an unconditional commitment of support towards the broader business plan you defined. The staff that support your leadership made a leap of faith to do so. They should be acknowledged for their support and brought deeper into the business planning process. Others may have underlying concerns or misgivings about their standing, their role in the business, or their future under your leadership. These team members require an early review to determine their genuine ambitions and commitment to the business, and their fit within the organization.
In any business it is easy to move past ritual planning meetings and go back to your list of tasks to be accomplished. The importance of execution of near-term goals should not be overlooked. Nonetheless, you have the power to move past rituals and make meaningful changes in your business structure to better achieve your goals. It starts with setting them at the start of the year, even if 8% of the year is already over.