Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Will you reach your goals this year? You're entering the home stretch -- probably thinking about what you most want to accomplish over the next couple of months – before the holidays arrive.
You might feel like you're pushing toward the end of a marathon – running out of steam, losing energy, allowing your body to move on autopilot just to cross the finish line.
That's one strategy.
But there are better ways to gain momentum – to get a second wind to carry you across the finish line. (It's really not a finish line. It's the starting line for next year.)
1. Catch your breath to review your progress That's right. Stop what you're doing for a moment.
Make a list of all the progress you've made in whatever areas are most important to you. Simply list anything that represents progress of any kind: small steps to major breakthroughs.
Most executives are too busy to take the time to acknowledge progress. Although you may be holding regular meetings for team members to "report in" on their action items, it's not the same as taking a broader look at progress made over the course of a year.
If the ideas are not flowing, try this exercise:
· Write down a general description of where you were or where your business was a year ago Include challenges you were facing, opportunities at that time.
What were your concerns, fears, expectations, etc.?
· Where are you now? What's changed? What's improved?
How is this picture different from the first one you described?
· List the key accomplishments or milestones that occurred. Note any challenges you overcame and how you did so.
What worked well?
What would have done differently?
Great! Now, you've got some talking points to share with your team.
Seeing your progress is motivating.
Imagine the implications of this concept with your team. When they can see the progress they're making, they will become more energized.
Studies have shown that "support for making progress" is one of the most important factors that can influence motivation at work.
2. Capture your learning.
One of the best ways to capture your learning is to share your lessons with other people.
In a team meeting, ask your team to describe three important lessons they've learned this year.
Some people may share a lesson related to personal effectiveness. Others may focus on business, strategic or tactical issues.
Push for specificity. If a team member says, "I've learned to manage my time better." Ask, "How?"
The lesson may be that he learned to allow for extra time between meetings when they are scheduled so he can catch his breath."
Another team member may say, "I've learned to attract better clients." The real lesson may be: "I've learned to become more visible in the community to attract better clients."
Capture your learning. Then multiply your learning by having "lessons learned" discussions with team members.
3. Imagine your best future – or at least the best picture of the year ahead.
It's too easy to dwell on problems.
If I asked you to describe what you are most looking forward to in the year ahead, what would you say?
What would be most exciting to accomplish?
Where are your best opportunities?
· The impact you can and want to make next year.
· The role you want to play.
· The people with whom you want to work.
· The partnerships you want to create.
Start thinking about this NOW. Don't wait until the end of the year.
Clarifying your vision will help you gain more momentum heading into the New Year.
So the secret to a strong finish is preparing for a strong start -- taking a little time to reflect on your progress, capture your learning and imagine compelling new possibilities.
Choose carefully the lens through which you want to view your past progress and your future success. It can propel you and your business.
Catch your second wind.
Get a running start on the New Year!
Gayle Lantz is a management consultant, executive coach, leadership speaker and founder of WorkMatters, Inc. http://www.workmatters.com. She is also author of Take the Bull by the Horns: The Busy Leader's Action Guide to Growing Your Business …and Yourself.