“The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.” – John Harvey-Jones
With all the craziness that is 2020, I find myself losing track of the fact that it’s already mid-October. So many of the events that mark the passage of a normal year have either been cancelled or drastically altered. It’s thrown off my sense of time.
Since we are only 10 weeks from 2021, it’s worth it to start thinking about what we’ve learned & accomplished in 2020, and what we want to learn and accomplish in 2021. We all feel the stress of uncertainty in virtually every aspect of our lives, but that doesn’t excuse us as leaders from thinking about the future and attempting to plan for it.
One problem many leaders have is they come up with a list of goals or targets for the upcoming year that is so overwhelming they are doomed to fail before they really get started. So I’d challenge you to start small. What are the 2 or 3 things that, if you or your business accomplished them in 2021, would make you really feel good? What 2 or 3 things would need to happen to make you feel like 2021 was a terrific year?
For each of those items/issues, put down in writing the situation NOW, and then clearly state what success looks like. For example, if one of the key things you want to accomplish in 2021 is to revamp your sales process, describe what that process looks like NOW, and the describe in detail what you want it to look like when you’re done working on it. Don’t just mention some things you want to “fix”; think about how you’d like it to look in an ideal world if you were starting from scratch.
Then start putting together a list of steps you’ll need to take to get there. What needs to happen first? Who else needs to get involved? If you want to be done by the end of 2021, when do you need to get started and how fast do you need to move? Get that all down in writing for each of those key items.
Those last 2 paragraphs maybe seem pretty elementary, but the reality is that most organizations don’t do any of that stuff. They talk about the things they want to accomplish, but they don’t figure out a plan for doing it, and then at the end of the year they wonder why it didn’t get done.
Don’t be “most organizations”. Be the organization you want to be. Be the leader your organization needs you to be. Good luck.