Now Is the Time to Set Your 2022 Goals

Now Is the Time to Set Your 2022 Goals

“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do. ” — Norman Vincent Peale

Goal setting means different things to different people, but nearly everyone agrees about the importance of developing and documenting your goals to achieve success in work and life.

There are many effective frameworks that will simplify and manage the process of setting goals, including:

  • Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results orientated, Time-framed (S.M.A.R.T) goals
  • The three horizons model
  • OKRs
  • One-word goal setting
  • Pyramid goal setting

It’s not a question of one framework being better than the others; you want to find the best fit for your business. Whichever system you choose, in one shape or form nearly all goal-setting systems consist of three fundamental activities.

1) Envision your desired outcome

Think about where you want to be in the future. Focus on specific goals, not general outcomes like, I want to be a millionaire. Consider ways of stating your goal that lend themselves to measuring progress.

2) Create your roadmap

Now that you know what success looks like, think about how you are going to get there from where you are now. One technique to planning your action steps is to work backwards from your intended goal, but there are other ways to build your roadmap. You can start with the biggest steps and narrow down to specific details. Explore your action steps through different lens. Put them in chronological order. Look at them from a roles and responsibilities perspective. Estimate time involved to complete steps. Think about dependencies – what steps do you need complete to move forward. The key point is to document your plan – it’s too easy to ignore if you haven’t written it down.

3) Check in with yourself daily, weekly and monthly

Check-ins serve a variety of purposes. They hold you accountable and they inspire you. Use your check-in to measure your progress, congratulate yourself on your successes, and remind yourself of the steps you need to take to achieve your goal.

Don’t wait until January 1 to start thinking about goals for 2022. By planning ahead, you’ll start the new year strong and begin achieving success more quickly.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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5 Ways to Be a Better Boss of You

5 Ways to Be a Better Boss of You

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ― William Faulkner

We talk a lot about managing our employees well, but not so much about how well we manage ourselves as leaders. Let’s remember to take time to reflect on how we might do better.

1. Confront your doubts and fears

It’s not uncommon for successful leaders to experience what is called the “imposter syndrome.” This condition refers to feelings of insecurity about one’s capabilities, despite having necessary qualifications for his or her role.

Left unaddressed, feelings of insecurity can cause a business leader to act in ways that impact employees negatively. Fortunately, this is a mindset issue and if you have experienced these feelings, there are several habits you can cultivate to handle your imposter syndrome. Assemble a body of evidence that will convince you without a doubt of your capabilities. Make a list of your achievement and successes – all the things that got you where you are today. Keep the list handy and reference it often, every day if necessary.

2. Be accountable

Just because you don’t have a boss doesn’t mean you don’t need to meet your job expectations. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture if you’re in the weeds on a specific problem. Use a productivity system to keep on top of your responsibilities in all areas of your business.

Review your performance on a regular basis and keep track of your progress in areas you’ve identified as needing improvement.

3. Invest in professional development

Look for opportunities to improve your knowledge and expertise in your area of business through formal learning programs.

4. Strive for balance

Taking scheduled time off to be with your family and participate in activities other than your work will help you maintain your well-being and prevent burnout.

5. Know when to ask for help

You expect your employees to ask questions when they don’t have answers, but do you allow yourself that same luxury? If you get overwhelmed, do you feel like you have to solve all the problems yourself?

If you built up your own business, it takes practice learning to delegate work to others and admit you may not have all the answers.

The solution to the first issue is to delegate work to your employees. In the short term it will take time to train an employee to learn a new task, but in the long run you’ll free up time for yourself while increasing your employee’s sense of advancement.

Connecting with fellow business owners is a great way to build a support system. For some problems, a networking group or chamber of commerce will give you access to other leaders who may be able to offer solutions.

And, when you need one-to-one advice on a broad spectrum of business development, marketing and management issues, I’m here to guide you towards success and achieve the full potential of your business.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Help Your Employees Grow Through Training, Coaching and Mentoring

Help Your Employees Grow Through Training, Coaching and Mentoring

Life is a classroom. Only those willing to be lifelong learners will move to the head of the class. – Zig Ziglar

One of the best ways to retain your employees is helping them be successful and reach their potential. Training, coaching and mentoring, with yourself or with more experienced employees, fosters growth in newer or new-to-workforce employees.

Learning builds confidence and skills, resulting in better performance. The better your employees perform, the more valuable they will be to you. And, when employees understand you’ve invested in their growth, they feel more valued, engaged and happier working for you.

Training, coaching and mentoring can take many forms, but they should always be authentic experiences and provide real value to your employees and to your business. Focus on these three areas to reinforce personal development at work.

Create a culture of continuous learning

  • Encourage exploration and experimentation
  • Invite experienced employees or outside guests to provide “lunch and learn” talks
  • Plan an in-house workshop for an immersive learning experience on a specific topic that may be new or undergoing change as it relates to your business
  • Provide a learning space in the work setting and consider setting up a reference library with books about succeeding in areas of business relevant to your employees
  • Share articles from print publications or online sources about trends in your industry

Offer on-the-job training

  • Create a formalized onboarding process and materials that focus on role-specific training
  • Invest in self-directed training courses and materials specific to your business
  • Purchase a company subscription to an e-learning platform like LinkedIN Learning, Skillshare, Udemy or Coursera
  • Research industry associations that offer online learning experiences
  • Keep motivation high with public recognition of achievement milestones

Provide individualized support

  • Schedule regular one-on-one coaching and mentoring sessions that focus on the employee’s path towards advancement
  • Provide training to senior employees so they can become effective peer coaches or mentors

Although you may have great employees, there’s always room for improvement, and offering personal development can help you retain your top performers.

I can help you build a robust employee development program. Connect with me to get started now.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Don’t Mistake Working Hard for Working Smart

Don’t Mistake Working Hard for Working Smart

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

When we get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of running our businesses, it’s easy to lose sight of our goals. We may be working long hours, dealing with everything that comes our way, and maybe even feeling proud of the fires we’ve successfully put out. But just because we’re working hard doesn’t mean we’re moving closer to reaching our goals.

How can you tell if you’re not working as smart as you could be? Here are 9 signs to watch for:

  1. You meet the quantity milestones you’ve set for yourself but fall short on achieving quality outcomes
  2. Every day you feel like you’re too busy to get to the really important tasks
  3. You don’t have time to learn about the latest trends in your field or industry
  4. You frequently miss networking opportunities
  5. You spend more time talking than listening
  6. You rely on the same work-arounds again and again
  7. You do everything yourself
  8. You’ve carried over a previous year’s goals to the next year, with no measurable progress
  9. You consistently work through scheduled time off

Strategy Makes All the Difference

In one word, the difference between working hard and working smart is STRATEGY. Envision the outcome you desire, then plan the steps to achieve it.

Everything has to be aligned. The more clearly you’ve defined your goal, the easier it will be to identify the necessary steps to achieve it. If you’re aware of the steps you need to take to reach your goal, you’ll gain awareness of when the work you’re doing isn’t moving you toward your goal. Make adjustments to your plan so you can manage the non-productive work differently.

Know Your Moves in Advance

In the game of chess, the number of moves a player knows in advance differentiates an amateur player from a grandmaster. An amateur typically knows his or her next 1 to 3 moves; a grandmaster knows his or her next 11 to 15 moves.

Grounding your strategy in data, knowledge, experience, and expertise ensures you are defining the right moves to get you where you want to be. And, it’s not just identifying the right moves – understanding the timing of your moves is just as critical. If you want to win in the game of chess, as in business, you can’t execute your move 1- before you’ve completed your move 4.

Sometimes, when we’re forced to fly by the seat of the pants in a situation, we get lucky and make the exact right business move. Don’t mistake good luck for strategy. In that situation, success is an accident. Most of us can’t afford to rely on accidents to achieve success.

Working smart is, however, still work, and you may find that the commitment required for building a strategic roadmap feels like too much hard work. You don’t have to have all the answers. Contact me to learn how I can help you accelerate progress towards your goals.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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How to Build Work Habits that Stick

How to Build Work Habits that Stick

“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” – Mark Twain

If you want your team to adopt new ways of working, you’ll get better and lasting results if you provide a process and environment that fosters the cultivation of new ways of doing things. Even with support in place, it takes time to change behaviors. Psychologists suggest that most people need about 30 days to create a new habit.

Rules alone don’t change behavior. Neither do fines. Studies have shown that instituting fines to deter bad habits actually has the opposite effect. One study showed that when libraries don’t charge overdue fines, patrons return books faster than when fees are imposed. Another study looked at the effects of imposing fines on parents who are late to pick up their children from daycare. Parents who had been late when there were no fees, were even later and late more often once they had to pay fines. The thinking is that people interpret fines as fees: they are paying for the privilege to be late. if they pay a fine, they’re good.

So, if rules and fines don’t work, how can you motivate your team to adopt and keep new habits? Here’s what the experts suggest:

Prepare for the transition

When you inform your team that you want them to adopt new work behaviors, let them know well in advance and explain the purpose. If your team understands the rationale and benefits of the change, they’ll be motivated to do their best to adopt the new behavior.

Acknowledge slip-ups will occur

Before you implement the change, let employees know you empathize with the challenge of adopting new behaviors and will be providing support to help them as they form new habits.

Take a phased approach

If possible, consider if you can institute the transition in small steps to allow everyone to grow into new habits.

Provide visual cues

Inspirational words and images are a gentle push in the right direction.

Foster a peer-to-peer support system

Train one employee to serve as the “expert” on the transition and ensure that person has bandwidth to help other employees.

Establish accountability

Keep track of progress towards the goal and make the track record visible to your entire team.

Get feedback

Encourage your team to reflect on their experience of the transition and share any challenges. Their feedback may help to improve the transition process and improve overall results for all employees.

Celebrate small wins

As the team improves its adoption rate of the new behaviors, acknowledge their success.

The truth is changing habits is almost always challenging, whether it’s for work or our personal lives. A thoughtful process and supportive environment will improve your team’s chances for a successful transition, and a “we’re in all this together” attitude will make it a better experience for all.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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How Does Your Business Measure Up?

How Does Your Business Measure Up?

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” – Peter Drucker

One of the most effective ways to become a more successful business is measurement. Measuring progress towards your goals provides fact-based, visible evidence that shows very clearly what works and what doesn’t. Data helps inform strategic decisions about whether to continue doing the same activities or to make changes to keep the business on track to achieve goals.

What Is a KPI?

KPI stands for key performance indicator. It is a measurement of progress in an area that is critical to a business. If a business, or an employee, doesn’t perform well in this activity, the business will eventually suffer significantly. Performing the activity well, on the other hand, leads to better overall results for the business.

KPIs can be quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative KPIs are just numbers; for example, if you use email marketing on a regular basis, you can track the number of subscribers or how many people click on the contact button. Qualitative KPIs describe the qualities of something: experiences, feedback, comments and feelings. To stay with the email example, a survey that asks email subscribers what topics are most useful to them provides qualitative data.

While qualitative KPIs may provide deeper insights and take into consideration context, gathering qualitative data is more time consuming that tracking numbers. To return the email example, a rising number of subscribers indicates the email campaigns are hitting the right targets, but qualitative results will show what types of content are driving the rising number of subscribers.

Choosing the Right KPIs Is Critical

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to KPIs. You’ll want to measure activities that matter to your business, not just for the sake of measurement. And be sure to consider the implications improving those numbers might have on the big picture. For example, it might seem like an improvement to challenge employees to prepare beverages faster, but if errors increase as employees rush through the process, service will decline and customers won’t return.

Here are some of the general categories of KPIs:

  • Financial
  • Customers
  • Process
  • Employees

Here are a couple of guidelines that apply to all businesses:

  • Avoid setting too many KPIs
  • Select KPIs that are realistic and attainable

If you’re not currently capturing metrics about your business, I can help you determine the correct KPIs that will inform strategic decisions and accelerate progress towards your goals.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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5 Mindset Hacks for Success

5 Mindset Hacks for Success

“With a big enough why you can overcome any how.”

– James Clear, Atomic Habits author

Is your mindset holding you back from being more successful in your business? If so, check out these 5 hacks to improve your outlook and achieve your goals.

1) Know your why

Negative feelings of being overwhelmed often result from a lack of focus, purpose, and priorities. Remembering why you do what you do will power you through difficult times.

2) Experiment endlessly

Experts talk about the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. As the name implies, a fixed mindset has set limits. It has the capacity to do things extremely well, but not to embrace change. With a growth mindset, your future is unlimited because you can learn, change and adopt new pathways to success.

Your experiments don’t have to be full-blown renderings of new ideas. Try sketching or prototyping new ideas fast and cheap, then testing and refining the ideas before you invest additional resources.

3) Tap the power of affirmations

Just like exercise trains your muscle, affirmations train your thinking. And, both take conscious effort and practice. Research shows that people can rewire their brains through the use of positive affirmations.

4) Build bridges

Investing time in networking and cultivating strong relationships will provide lifelong benefits. Some connections you make can result in enormous business advantages for you years after you initially made the connection. Be open to a wide range of relationships, just not your immediate circle. What you do today may not be what you are doing in the future, so don’t limit your connections to those within your industry or business field.

5) Practice generosity

Author and organizational behavior expert Adam Grant argues that giving is the secret to getting ahead in life and work. When we help others, we give ourselves a sense of being of service, and that feeling can be a powerful motivator and confidence builder. He recommends avoiding thinking of giving your time as a chore that disrupts your routine; rather think of giving your time as an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life or work. Helping others also builds relationships, our #4 hack, so this is a two-for-one hack.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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The 5 Rs of Employee Retention

The 5 Rs of Employee Retention

“To win the marketplace, you must first win the workplace.” ― Doug Contant, business leader

Every time you lose an employee, it may cost you weeks and even months in wages just to replace them. That can add up to a significant chunk of change! 

So, what can you do to stop this from happening? Good employees don’t leave without a good reason. They may be seeking higher wages, improved benefits, development opportunities, better hours or schedule flexibility. 

Do you know how your employees feel about their jobs? You can’t fix what’s not working for them if you don’t know what needs fixing. Regularly scheduled pulse checks keep you tuned in to employees’ feelings about their jobs. 

Here are my 5 Rs – proven practices that will tip the scales in your favor when employees are deciding whether to stay or leave. 

1. Respect Treat everyone who works for you with respect and foster respect in your workplace. 

2. Recognition and rewards Create company traditions where you acknowledge employees’ contributions and achievements. 

3. Relaxation Allow employees to truly take time off when they are away from work for holidays, weekends and scheduled time off. The break allows them to cultivate a healthy work-life balance, which in turn provides a healthy mindset when they’re back on the job. 

4. Responsibility Giving trusted employees new challenges with increased responsibility helps them feel more engaged with their job and instills a sense of purpose and pride. They will feel they are growing with the job, not growing out of the job. 

5. Responsiveness When you show your employees that you hear them, you build stronger relationships. Practice good listening skills when your employees do speak up and always offer a response. Show real interest in what they have to say and be sure you demonstrate that you are looking at things from their perspective, too. An empathetic boss is a major reason employees like their jobs.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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