Make 2013 Your Best Year Ever (Part 2)

By Dave Mather Created: January 9, 2013 Last Updated: January 31, 2013
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Create a great 2013 for yourself and your organization.

Start by planning from the future, which provides a distinctly different perspective from visualizing a massive goal from the present.

Figuratively, look down on the present from the future. This gives you a clear view of what is required. 

Whining about how hard it is to change creates a hard-to-change mindset. This kind of thinking keeps us in the past. Rather, energize yourself and others by declaring your objective and working toward creating that reality.

And don’t assume others’ commitment. Listen for it. It’s there.

Do Remarkable Things

During challenging economic times, don’t spend nanoseconds thinking about excuses. Focus on specific, written action steps that will help you reach your goals. 

You have opportunities to do remarkable things this year. Don’t think about times being tough. Choose to become the primary creative force in your life. Stand by your principles and create the life and organization you want.

Tips for Making Your Best Year Ever

• Stay informed, but stop reading and watching doom and gloom news stories.
• Refuse to participate in unproductive, speculative conversations.
• Don’t just stay positive, stay focused on your desired outcomes.
• The real economy is people buying goods and services and using those purchases to create actual value and wealth. Participate in that economy.
• Learn from past mistakes, anticipate tomorrow, but live today. Tell yourself that this is your day—24 shining new hours that nobody can spoil but you.
• Prudently manage resources, but refuse to cancel purchases or investments due to fear and worry.
• As clichéd as it sounds, choose to make this a Happy New Year by doing what you love, and loving what you do.

Focus Questions

Ask yourself these questions as you embark on a new business year. 

• Do the goals of various departments or regions in my organization support each other? 

• Are people competing for resources? Or is the organization designed to support creation of the actions needed to produce desired results?

Link Actions to Goals

Local goals often have little to do with the customer who pays the bills. Without customers, we have no reason to exist. We can borrow money, but not customer equity. We need customers! 

In a well-designed organization, each action is linked to goals that are linked to other goals that are linked to still other objectives. 

They flow from actions that support the purpose of the enterprise, to goals that reflect its business strategy, to goals that support the management strategy, to goals at the local level that support business advancement. 

Every organization has plenty of goals, but do people really know and relate to them? Do they know the purpose of their goals? Do they clearly see how they fit in the big scheme of things? 

What do they focus on day-to-day? Do those actions clearly advance the enterprise to achieving its goals on behalf of its overall purpose?

Clarity and Focus

Bring penetrating clarity into your area of responsibility. Conduct 30-minute one-on-ones with direct reports to create dialogue around what truly matters to the enterprise and its people. 

Weed out competing goals. Shift from simplistic “positive thinking” to penetrating clarity and focus. Replace platitudes and pep talks with conversations around objective reality. Refocus people on what personally and collectively matters to them. 

Ensure you are not simply reacting to circumstances but building the organization you want. 

Accept what you cannot change. Focus on actions that produce results. Shift from talking about “given the present circumstances, what is the best we can hope to accomplish” to “here’s what we are building together.”

Commit to Outcomes

On a personal level, we often engage in self-talk that keeps us from creating a new reality for ourselves. 

Commit to outcomes, rather than change for the sake of change.

Refrain from promoting “change.” Creating a future we truly want is not simply making changes in our lives. 

If you could create your desired future and change nothing, would you be okay with that? 

We hope so. Most of us would gladly make changes on behalf of a bigger outcome, but we tend to “resist” change that seems to have no relevance other than “we’re making some changes around here.” 

Commit to outcomes, rather than change for the sake of change, and make this your best year ever.

Dave Mather is a Performance Improvement Specialist at Dale Carnegie Business Group in Toronto. His columns can be read at ept.ms/dave-mather

Find Dave on LinkedIn.

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