I’ll start by declaring an interest. I’ve never been persuaded by people who do “the vision thing”. I’ve always preferred those whose results bear testament to the “action” thing.
I expect it’s because I’m a bit ambivalent to the “Goal Setting” model of personal planning and self-development. This attitude probably stems from never setting a “Goal” about being married, but ending up happily married for the last thirty years.
I know people who live by their plans, timetables and action points. It seems to me there is a fair amount of bureaucracy involved in all the measuring they do. However, it keeps them happy, active and (presumably) out of trouble. I’m not sure they get better results as an outcome of all the effort, but I’d never criticise them for trying.
My approach seems to have been supported by my work experience as well. I suspect that if you work in an emergency service for most of your life as I did, you should expect to have your day disrupted by “stuff” happening which requires immediate attention. You have to change whatever plans you had at a moment’s notice. But even at SuperSkills, there are days when the immediate issue takes precedence over what was originally my intention as that day’s activity.
So this is why I tend to have a longer term view about how the business progresses and I’m going to share that approach with you. Try it if you like and if it works out, that’s fine. My only recommendation is that it works for me.
The “Goal Setters” will be using their time as the old year draws to a close and the new one begins to fire up the Excel spreadsheet, open up the Filofax, tap on the Tablet screen, whatever, to start setting out their Goals for success in 2014. There will be Milestones, Weekly Activities, Daily Achievements and probably hours of work involved.
Here’s my alternative. Think of what “success” in your own business looks like. If you’re a self-employed painter and decorator, that will be different to having an employed workforce. If you have shareholders, different again. If you have premises or business loans, the picture changes once more. The other variable is your ambition. Happy to be “steady away” with a balance between home life and the business? That’s different from wanting to achieve significant growth. Now hold that thought.
If it’s to be “steady away” or “significant growth”, think of what happened in 2013. What made success happen? What could have been better? Do more of the first and stop the second happening again. Simple.
An example. In 2013, SuperSkills did very nicely thank you – but nearly all of the business came from enquiries on the Internet and of those, 95% (I’m not kidding) were from one particular source. So 2014 has to be about changing that balance. The “Goal Setter” will set a target, then undertake activities that are meant to contribute to it. Me? I’ll undertake this as continuous activity. Changing the balance will be my default activity when I’m not doing anything else. I’ll know what success looks like because of the type of enquiries we get.
The second thing will be customer satisfaction. We get astonishingly good feedback from our clients on a consistent basis. Having achieved that, we need to work at the top of our game to keep the same results. Our best advertisements are the people we have helped, but we can do more to harness the asset of goodwill.
There’s another thing I do as well. Every so often, I take a good hard look at what I do whilst working. I put a “sales” value on it. These days, it’s quite easy to get sucked into checking email, or “@SuperSkills” (the company Twitter feed), “having meetings” or any one of the other pursuits that can take up the day when you are your own Boss. Sometimes, I look back at the end of the day, every day for a week or a fortnight and ask the simple question – “How much money did that generate in Sales?”. Try it – but be prepared for a salutary lesson!
That’s why, in 2014, I’ll carry on being a “Go Getter” rather than a “Goal Setter”. Constant activity, continuous improvement. Sales + Service = Sales.
Which one will you be? Whatever it is – all the best for 2104!