Here we go again, another new year. As 2017 hits the history books, professionals around the world are tasked with crafting another 12 months of their legacies. The question is, where do you start?
Each and every year a management or service professional needs to take a look at the months behind them and the months ahead to get a great start. Only by looking at our pasts and forecasting our futures can we really have the best chance at success.
The following tips can help members of the client-facing service world and the management teams guiding them create a solid plan going into 2018.
- Analyze the prior year. It’s not enough just to make a plan for the next year. You need to understand where you’re coming from and how you did. Every bit of data you can consume, analyze, and break down is paramount to your success in the coming months. Ask yourself the following questions: Where were you this time last year? Were you with the same company? What goals did you set this time last year? Did you meet them? If yes, how? If not, why?
- Make it count. It’s important to know that goals need to be measurable, and they need to be based on actual data so that they can be relevant and actionable. “Make more money” is not a real goal because we can’t measure it, we can’t track it, it’s just not tangible. Instead, try “increase revenue by 10% year-over-year.”
- Set a timeline. A successful goal will have specific steps, and specific dates to achieving each of those steps. When do you want to fully accomplish this goal? Don’t make it too far out or you may lose focus. Instead, focus on incremental improvements and changes that you can check off as you go. For example, instead of setting the end date as the end of the year, set something you can check off earlier. “Demonstrate revenue increase of at least 1% by January 31st, 2018.” Now we have a step we check off by the end of the first month. If you’re successful you’ll have something to be proud of right away. If you fail, you’ll have an entire month’s worth of work to study and analyze to help you in February.
- Involve your team. When you craft a goal for yourself, it’s easy to let it slide if you’re not meeting your objectives. When you craft a goal with others, be it your coworkers, your family, or even your boss, you become responsible and accountable for that goal. However, it’s not just added pressure that you’ll receive from your counterparts, but added support.
- You’ve got your team, now what? If at all possible, put tasks in the hands of your team. I don’t necessarily suggest giving a task to your boss, but you can hand them out to your coworkers, your subordinates if you’re tasked with any, and even your family members. For example, Team-member A’s task can be “complete a price-survey among competitors to gauge the possibility of raising prices.” Give that task a deadline that falls within your full timeline. Specifically for automotive management teams, your task can be “complete a pay-survey for technicians working for the competition.” This one is important because you need to gauge not only what the cost-of-sale is for your competition as far as hourly rate, but also for hours paid-per-job. If you’re paying a technician one hour to complete the same task your competition is paying only a half-hour, then you’ve got some rearranging to do. Vice-versa, make sure you’re not underpaying your most valuable asset.
- Put it in motion and stick to your dates. You’ve got your timeline set, your team is in place, and everybody has an actionable role. Now, you must stick to it. If a step falters, find a way to correct it. If a team-member fails an objective, hold them accountable and support them on the way to fulfilling their duties. Keep the calendar handy and ensure the reminders are in front of you constantly. Don’t slip up on the timeline and you’ll find yourself far more likely to succeed in the long run.
I hope these tips can help you in crafting the goals you’re setting out to meet in 2018. As always, I’m available to help in any way I can. Feel free to reach out in the comments below and join the discussion, and keep in mind that this outline can be applied to all of your goals this year and beyond.
Thanks again for stopping by, and good luck out there!