December 10, 2019

Why you should be setting your goals now

As business owners and managers, we tend to have a bias towards ‘being busy’. So long as we’re doing something, we’re not just happy, we feel useful and productive. But by taking this approach it can be easy to end up down the wrong path, simply working for the sake of it and never really achieving what we set out to achieve in the first place.

As a business owner myself, I know there’s a great advantage in sitting back and taking some time out to analyse where we’re headed – particularly at this time of year. As the year draws to a close, I thought I’d share with you how to set your goals.

1. Set aside some time

The first thing to do is to block our time for reflection – preferably half a day or even a day. It’s your choice whether you want to do this alone or reflect as part of a team (there are merits in both approaches).

I also think it’s important to put some distance between yourself and the office and go offsite. This doesn’t mean you have to be extravagant, but  I feel that it’s a good idea to clear the mind and spend some time in a neutral location, where the energy and stresses of the workplace are left behind. If you’re taking people along for your reflection session, it’s also more likely that a change of scenery will make people feel more comfortable about speaking openly.

2. Start with the positives

As business owners and managers, we’re usually the problem solvers, meaning we can look through the negative scope. I think it can be useful to begin by looking at what went right over the past 12 months. Call out your wins from the year and have a think about why they were so successful. Was it your processes? The talent of individual team members? Or even the type of work or project you undertook?

3. Consider what didn’t work

Only once you’ve looked at the positives, then it’s appropriate to analyse those things that didn’t quite go to plan. It’s important to note that it’s not about pinning blame on people or looking for excuses, it’s about analysing your mistakes and what you can learn from them.

If you’re undergoing this task as a team, let people have their say on why they think someone might’ve worked and why something didn’t. Here, it’s important not to be too quick to judge but to let them speak freely and openly. That way you may find you have competing narratives that can help you uncover the real truth.

4. Apply the lessons you’ve learned

Next up, it’s time to think about how these lessons can apply to the next 12 months and beyond. Are there any trends you spotted or problems that keep arising? Do you need to change your processes? Perhaps you need to hire new staff or juggle people around? You might need to institute a new workplace policy or undertake some training. Whilst there’s no need to commit to anything right now, just having the ideas and allowing them to turn over in your mind is great exercise.

5. Set your goals for next year

The main reasons you shouldn’t commit is because the next thing you need to do is to set your goals for the next 12 months. These shouldn’t be mere resolutions such as “make more money” but concrete objectives such as “increase revenue by $150,000 by gaining two new clients in x sector”. Some of these goals are likely to come about as a direct result of your reflection in steps 1 to 4.

But, perhaps even more importantly, your reflection on last year’s successes and challenges can help you devise how you’re going to achieve the goals you’ve set. For instance, if you’ve identified a mistake in the way you worked last year, your planned improvements can be worked into your roadmap for achieving that target.

6. Don’t overwhelm yourself

Finally, it’s important to remember that you can’t do everything at once. As they say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. Choose two-to-four goals that really matter to you, your employees and your business. Make sure that these goals can propel you towards your end target and have the best possible outcome for everyone involved. By doing so, you’ll be giving yourself a better chance of succeeding and that means you’re also giving yourself a better chance of getting to where you ultimately want to be.

If you’re a business owner feel free to reach out to me if you want to discuss goal setting, planning for 2020 or if you need any human resources advice.

Otherwise, have a wonderful holiday break and see you all in 2020.

say hi to our author

Merilyn founded Catalina Consultants in 2012 on the belief that all organisations, regardless of size, should have access to top quality bespoke HR services. She enjoys working closely with her clients and believes that the best results are built on relationships of rapport, trust and authenticity. Growing up, Merilyn had her sight set on stardom and dreamed of becoming an actor. She also sang and played the piano, but ended up studying accounting and HR. Whilst she hasn’t won her Grammy just yet, she still loves a good karaoke night. Merilyn loves to travel with her family, with South Africa being one of her most memorable destinations.

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