When one year comes to a close and another one begins, it’s certainly a time to take stock and reflect on what’s passed and the opportunities ahead of us. A side effect of this reflection is usually the desire to do more, to do better, or to make changes. This space where we stop and assess our lives is the place where resolutions are born.
Our business personas are just like our personalities outside of work and they also go through the same process of evaluation at this time of the year. There’s definitely an opportunity to make business resolutions that drive yourself or your company harder and further in the year to come. But, as business life mirrors personal life, we all know that many resolutions fail, get forgotten, or fall by the wayside. So how do we make them stick? How do we ensure that our business resolutions are relevant and trackable? And how do we go about the process of choosing a business resolution in the first place? Read on for our guide to Business Resolutions.
What are your options?
In creating business resolutions it’s important that you consider the strategic focus of your business plan and the overall targets that have been created already for your business. You can treat your resolution like an addendum to the original plan that will either add in a new set of targets or boost an existing set. When coming up with your commitments try to focus on making them clear, relevant, and measurable.
Business resolutions tend to fall into three categories: target focused, behaviour focused, and focused on ways of working.
Target focused resolutions
Target focused resolutions can be some of the most straightforward to define and measure but be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking they will be equally easy to deliver against. As their name implies, they focus clearly on a target as the driver behind the resolution – for example: increase sales by x% or grow customer numbers by y%. Once you’ve decided to create a target for your resolution you will need to invest time in brainstorming an action plan that will define in clear steps how you plan to achieve it. The action plan will be a useful tool for engaging your wider team and will allow you to track delivery against your resolution.
Resolutions that are focused on ways of working
As soon as you move away from a statistical target as part of your resolution you start to find it more challenging to define because the deliverable is not as clear. Examples of resolutions that are focused on ways of working include: improving your business marketing; increasing productivity; or focusing on the development of your staff. Because these resolutions focus on ways of working you will benefit from engaging your team in the process of setting and defining them as early as possible. Involve them in the process of creating your action plan and it will help you to get their buy in whilst simultaneously allowing them to share their thoughts and ideas.
Behaviour focused resolutions
Behaviour focused resolutions actually target a change to your business behaviour and are therefore very challenging to succinctly capture into words, implement, and monitor. Examples that fall into this category include: learning from previous mistakes; thinking beyond existing business horizons; and taking more time to listen to your staff. It’s widely held that you can change or create a behaviour in 30 days, and that’s worth bearing in mind if you decide this is the category you want your resolution to fall into. Start off short term and try creating a 30 day action plan that will drive the behaviour you’re hoping for. Once you reach the end of the 30 days you can take stock, evolve your action plan and create another plan to take you further forward into the year. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to get the support of your team as this will be fundamental to monitoring your success.
Business resolutions create an excellent opportunity to compliment or supplement your business plan. Some well thought out direction will put a focus on pushing your company towards further success in 2016: whether it be through cultural, behavioural or results-focused change. Clear action plans supporting each resolution will help you to engage your team in the process and involve them in the solution. You can harness the energy and enthusiasm that accompanies the start of 2016 and turn it into a great result that will drive your business forward. We wish you good luck for the year ahead.
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