Setting Goals and Living by Them

During this holiday and end of the year, it is a natural time to give thanks for all we have and to plan for what we want to accomplish. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

First, here are seven steps to creating and implementing your annual operating plan:

  • Identify your Key Result Areas
  • Identify your Critical Measures of Success
  • Set SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Based.
  • Develop at least seven action steps for each goal.
  • Assign a person to be accountable for each action step.
  • Set target dates for each action step.
  • Develop a scorecard to measure your success in implementing your annual operating plan.

To help you assess where your employees think you are, try asking them:

Get an Intuitive Check

  • How do you feel about how things are going?
  • What frustrates you?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • If you could wave your magic wand, what three things would you fix?

Get an Anecdotal Check

  • What are the greatest accomplishments of the past year?
  • What are people saying about us?
  • What are my staff members concerned about? What are they saying?
  • What is the level of staff morale?

To get a feeling for staff morale, ask them these questions:

  • How do your employees feel about the work they are doing?
  • How do your employees feel about their relationship with their immediate supervisor?
  • To what extent do your employees feel proud of the products and services yourr company provides?
  • To what extent do your employees feel proud of your company?
  • Do your employees feel that they are being fairly compensated?

Quantitative Check

  • What are the key quantitative indicators of our success?
  • What do these numbers show us about our performance?
  • Which of our goals have we achieved?
  • Which of our goals have we missed?
  • What are our customer satisfaction ratings?
  • What is our financial performance?

In order to sell products or services, your company must provide an excellent product or service. That is the key and the baseline from which all marketing and sales efforts must start. Take some time in this end of the year month, and ask questions of yourself, your customers and your employees, so you are planning 2011 based on facts and the reality of what you need to do to succeed.