Wow. Here we are. Fourth quarter. I kind of can’t believe it. This year has gone by incredibly fast.
But, here we are. It’s time to work as fast, and as hard, as we can to meet (or exceed) the goals we set a year ago…and it’s time to begin planning for 2016.
(Side note: I just wrote 2017, which makes me wonder if that’s foreshadowing on my part and we should just skip 2016.)
A year ago, I read Traction and it changed the way I run the business. It had an extremely positive affect on our planning process and I’ve required our clients use it, as well.
And, last November, I wrote, “How to Use Traction for Business Planning,” to describe how it works and what we changed internally to work the system.
Go ahead and read that one, or refresh your brain, if you read it last year.
I am here to tell you, it works.
Toward the end of the year, I’ll give you a synopsis on how we did against what the book recommends, but this has been our best year in our 10-year history. I can tell you that right now.
Review Your 2015 Plan
And now begins the time to get on it again.
Right now, prepare to answer the following questions:
- What are your core values?
- What is your core focus?
- What is your 10-year target?
- What is your marketing strategy?
- What is your three-year picture?
- What is your one-year plan?
- What are your quarterly rocks?
- What are your issues?
If you’ve never taken the time to really do this, this will take the full quarter. If you’ve done the hard work already, this will just be a refresh to make sure you’re still on track.
October also is the time to write down your goals for next year. No more than five. This will be part of answering number six above.
It can be a revenue goal, a profit goal, a new product launch, a new service offering, or software implementation.
Figure out what those goals are, write them down, and then get input from everyone in the office, from the dog all the way up to your right-hand person.
The people who work directly with customers will have a different perspective than your sales team than your executive team than your HR team.
Everyone should have input.
Now it’s time to finalize the goals communicate what you’ve decided on to everyone.
Because you’ve involved them in the decision-making process, they’ll be bought in, excited, and ready to do their part to help the company not just meet, but exceed them.
And, November is the time to be thankful and to celebrate. We are a virtual organization so I’m going to be challenged to plan a holiday party this year, but I’ll find something fun and interesting so everyone across North America and Europe can participate.
Thank the people who have helped you drive your business forward in 2015.
December is the best time of the year to take a step back, review what you’ve accomplished, consider what you could improve, and sit back and smell the roses.
(That last one is really hard for me.)
Set targets for self-improvement. We have a client who always sets three personal goals, which include everything from save more money to take his wife on more dates.
Also take the time to give your team meaningful feedback, and I don’t mean saying, “You’re doing an awesome job.” If you need to, in October, start writing down things they do really well and save that for December.
Every, single person will appreciate the specific feedback.
And, once you’ve done all of this, take some time off at the end of the year to enjoy the holidays, be with friends and family, and reflect on everything you’ve accomplished so far.
image credit: CC0 Public Domain