It’s Saturday, December 31st 2011. For once it’s stopped snowing and you’ve wandered into your office to tidy up a bit of paperwork. When you come in on Tuesday 3rd you’re determined to hit the ground running.
But if you’re honest, there’s another reason why you’ve come into the office – and it’s not to escape the in-laws. No, you simply want to think, to reflect on the year that’s about to finish. Because 2011 has been a stunning year: absolutely brilliant. Yes, of course it’s been hard work. But you achieved everything you set out to achieve. And now you feel fit, you feel energized. You can’t wait for next year…
So let me ask you a simple question. What has to happen between now and New Year’s Eve 2011 for you to feel like that?
Right now the whole of next year is in the palm of your hand. You can look back at the end of it and say, “Fantastic. Every target met. Plenty of them exceeded. Made some money, made some friends, did some good in the world.”
Or you can look back on a year of missed opportunity, of delivering less than your best – with nothing achieved except more grey hair, a thicker waistline and more of those indigestion tablets you’re swallowing every day.
Take ten minutes and write down what needs to happen for you to feel totally satisfied at the end of next year. Remember that your goals need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic and Timely. Yes, realistic – but we’re standing on the threshold of a new year. Make them ambitious. Don’t sit in your office 54 weeks from now and think, ‘Fair enough, all goals achieved. But we could have done more…’
Now you’ve got your goals, work backwards. One of my friends was talking to me about his teenage son. He’s known what he wants to do in life since he was about twelve. “And you know what?” my friend said. “Life is very simple. Everything flows backwards. We know what university he needs to go to. We know what A-levels he needs to take. We know what grades he’ll need. Simples…”
Business is no different. If you know where you want to be at the end of next year then it’s just the same – everything flows backwards. You have definite goals in mind. Great. So what needs to happen for you to achieve those goals? By when? What are the intermediate steps? Once again, simples…
You know by now what my goal is for 2011 – none of my Board members achieving less than their full potential. So let’s look forward to twelve months of working together, working remorselessly on your goals. And then you can look forward to what’s just about, (after falling in love and seeing your children born), the best feeling there is.