Each January millions of people around the world make resolutions to help them live a better life throughout the year. Common resolutions include goals to improve health and wellness, financial status and even reconciling relationships. As a small business owner or nonprofit leader, it is likely that your New Year’s resolutions are not just for your personal well-being, but for the betterment of your organization. As recommended by Forbes Magazine this year, whether your company’s New Year’s resolution is to follow a content marketing plan, utilize apps that make life easier, improve customer appreciation, or to integrate Cloud technology to your infrastructure, here are our tips for achieving your goals this year.
1. Create an Accountability System
Research shows that when it comes to health and wellness goals, having a partner could mean the difference between success and failure. The primary reason for this is that having a partner as part of your journey creates a built-in accountability and motivational system. The same is true for your business goals. Practical accountability systems may include creating visual reminders of your goals, scheduling check-ups on your progress throughout the year, and designating key team members that are responsible for monitoring your goals. Being intentional about holding yourself and your team members accountable takes forethought and foresight. Doing so will ensure that your resolutions will not be an afterthought by March, and that you are not setting the same goals next year.
2. Be S.M.A.R.T.
In our company’s professional development workshops, we encourage participants to use the S.M.A.R.T. method when setting goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Specific goals are more likely to be accomplished than general goals, while measurable, attainable and timely goals are more likely to keep you on track. A great example of this might be to increase revenue. “Increase revenue in 2014” is a good general goal, but an even better goal might be to “double company revenue in 2014 by identifying profit leaks, and creating monthly marketing campaigns in order to obtain new clients.” Even that specific goal can be further developed as your team thinks about other factors that may be at play. By ensuring that your goals are S.M.A.R.T. you set yourself and your team members up to experience the thrill of achievement that will become motivation for future success.
3. Be Flexible
Life happens. Part of good goal planning is recognizing that and preparing accordingly. Having flexibility in your approach and expectations relieves everyone involved of the pressure that comes with perfectionism. By recognizing that things may not always go as planned, you open the floor for creativity and discussion about alternative approaches to the goal or task. There is absolutely nothing worse than tunnel vision when it comes to goal planning. Besides the disappointment of a “failed” resolution, a lack of flexibility can be terrible for morale.
4. Create Rewards
Rewards are good for morale, and a happy team is a productive team. As your company sets this year’s resolutions or goals, a rewards system is as important as any other piece of the process. Whether big or small, rewards that highlight performance, collaboration and other values that are important to your company could be the extra motivation for your success this year.
Whether or not you are satisfied with your company’s previous performance, the New Year is a fresh opportunity for growth. Setting good goals early on could be what makes the difference in the level of success you achieve this year, and in the years to come.
Andrena Sawyer is the Founder and President of P.E.R.K. Consulting, a Washington DC- based strategic planning company for nonprofits and small businesses. In addition to her work with nonprofits and start-ups, she leads workshops on personal and professional development for youth and women across the country. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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