It’s not just about setting and achieving specific goals; you can use business New Year Resolutions to reach and inspire audiences in and outside of your company.
Use Business New Year Resolutions to Support Your Long Range Plan
November is long range planning month, the time of year when business leaders often sit down to begin to assess the current year’s progress against goals set and decide what to reach for in the New Year.
While you might not have made a direct connection in years past, it’s time to make sure the Resolutions you make for your business are aligned with your company’s long range plan. Only then will you be able to use business New Year Resolutions to max benefit.
Let’s break it down. Your organization’s long range plan is likely to be made up of components like these:
- Company mission, vision and values statements
- Financial and other organizational assessments (where are we now)
- SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
- Long term objectives, typically spanning 3-5 years or even longer
- Strategies, or the general methods you plan to use to achieve the objectives
- Goals that will be used to define progress in the short term (from a few months to 1-2 years)
- Tactics that explain how goals will be accomplished
- Timeline (when measures will be taken)
- Specific benchmarks that need to be hit
- How progress will be measured (how do we know we’re on the right track)
- Contingency plans (what happens if enough progress isn’t being made in 3, 6, 12 months, etc.)
- Accountability (who in the company is responsible for each strategy/goal/tactic/measure, etc.)
Tying Business New Year Resolutions to the Long Range Business Plan
The Resolutions you set for your business in the New Year can – and should – be tied to your company’s long range plan. They could reflect anything from realizations gleaned from your teams’ SWOT analysis to the actual strategies, goals, and tactics you’re going to use to take your business from where it is today to where you want it to be tomorrow.
One way to assess where your business truly is today as you begin to set specific, measurable goals for the New Year is to conduct a year-end business checklist. In this exercise you’ll go back and revisit the goals you had set for the past year, assess progress made against them, and – if appropriate – update those goals and fold them into your plans for the New Year.
However, they shouldn’t be merely restatements of your goals; they should be inspirational applications that marry the inherent virtue of your mission, vision and values to the objective facts, findings, and math that resides in the action-oriented portion of your long range plan.
Resolutions are Goals and Should be Specific and Measurable
For instance, let’s say one of your specific goals is to increase social media-driven leads by 10 percent over the course of the year. To do this you’ll have to significantly increase the size of your audience and get their attention focused on your brand, and the tactics you’ve decided to use include an increase in targeted social ad spending, prize drawings based on likes and shares, and more frequent posting.
None of these statements make for an aspirational Resolution and the last thing you want your social followers to feel like is a “target.” If you’re going to use business New Year Resolutions to inspire positive reactions from your audiences, you’ve got to do better. However, you could phrase a business Resolution in such a way that it gives members of your target audiences a reason to follow and engage with your brand on social media; such as:
We’re going to transform our social media from mundane to anything-but-ordinary and fill our feeds with news, ideas, and information that can profoundly improve our customer’s lives (businesses, success, etc.)
While you’re giving a nod to the fact that you’re going to double down in efforts to grow and engage your social audiences, your Resolution points to the fact that you’re not going to do it at the expense of your audience, but rather for their good. This create a bridge between the academic and technical aspects of your long range plan and the inspirational and emotional aspects of your company’s mission, vision and values. It also provides a guiding light for those executing the plan, by providing a point of reference whereby all social media activities can be evaluated: Does this post meet the standard of making my customer’s life (business, success, etc.) better?
Use Business New Year Resolutions to Answer the Question What’s In It for Me
Presumably, you will communicate your business New Year Resolutions to other stakeholders; you may be planning to publish them as a blog post, share them with staff, post them on social media, print them out for board members, and so on. As such, your Resolutions for the New Year should all be able to answer the question “what’s in it for me?” as it is asked by the employees, customers, vendors, investors, and other audiences affected. In other words, can the people who are going to be affected by a Resolution grasp how your promise – if fulfilled – benefits them?
Last but not least, be prepared to put the work in.
Making random business New Year Resolutions sets you up for failure just like making personal Resolutions that aren’t supported in your “real life” do – such as resolving to lose 25 pounds without having a specific plan to eat less and move more. That’s why tying Resolutions to your long range plan is smart; it’s as though you resolved to lose weight and you already have a diet and exercise plan ready to deploy on January 1st. Well, maybe January 2nd when the New Year and its celebrations have concluded.
No matter how brilliant your plan, it won’t work unless you do, so don’t let up. Start. Begin. Move; because: “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso