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AMBITIONS TO OUTCOMES

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the start of a new year has you considering some things you would like to tackle this year. If your like my clients, then at least one of the following is likely atop your agenda for 2014:

  • Help your employees become more connected with your vision for the businesses.
  • Increase the morale and commitment of your employees to the company.
  • Delegate more often with the confidence that tasks will be completed at the level of quality and timely fashion that you desire.
  • Increase the amount of time you spend considering and acting upon strategic business issues.
  • Find more free time away from work, meaning you are physically and mentally enjoying your down time.

Do any of these sound familiar?

These are great ambitions but without investing some time and effort into positioning these as objectives, they are likely to remain as unreachable ambitions. Fortunately in the same way that organizational strategies are built, you can also set goals; and I’m not talking about weight loss goals either.

I’ve been setting business and personal goals, as well as helping others achieve their objectives, for over a decade. Based on my success and that of my clients who apply my approach, I thought I would take a moment to share with you my simple but effective approach to goal setting, helping you make 2014 the year where you convert your ambitions to outcomes.

Here then is my pragmatic five-step process:

1. Take fifteen minutes to consider the outcomes you would like to achieve in 2014. From, “more vacation time,” to, “buying a new car.” Scribble down some notes on each – key words, phrases, or any specific details that come to mind.

2. Spend the next few minutes circling or highlighting those goals that are the most important to you. Select a maximum of ten.

3. Next take five minutes or so and write a more specific statement about each goal you highlighted. For example "More time away from work" would become something like: “I will take four weeks of vacation by December 31, 2014.

4. Now review your list and make any changes or adjustments necessary to ensure actions are clear (clarity results when someone not familiar with your written goal can read it and interpret it's meaning). The key is to end up with written goals that are specific and measurable. Also make sure the date you set is reasonably achievable.

5. Lastly and most importantly, take some sort of action on this goal immediately. Using the example above of four weeks of vacation, go into your calendar (written, electronic, or otherwise) and block out four weeks of vacation. You may wish to engage your significant other in this activity as well. With the time blocked out, book something that will consume at least the first week of holidays such as a vacation to Disney. (Who doesn’t love Disney?)

Now if you think this is cheesy and won’t work; you’re wrong. Similar to initiating change or a business strategy, by setting clear goals, working backwards from the goal to determine the actions to take, and finally taking some sort of action to set your goals into motion, you will achieve them.

What have you got to lose?

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