As the year begins, many of us make New Year's Resolutions. Dieting and saving money are popular resolutions and most revolve around improving oneself; A new year and the possibilities of beginning something new. While you are in this frame of mind about exploring changes to improve one's self, you can find some guidance in the ways organizations improve, in how they execute on their strategy.
"...(we)had some 180 initiatives...How do you pare that down to 12?...When individuals are not certain about the specific objectives and goal of a particular area of an enterprise, they end up interpreting their own initiatives based on what they are hearing or seeing on any given day of the week...Typically, many things will occur in a given week that may cause part of an operation to believe that X is important. A while later, someone comes to talk to them and something else gets added to the list what is important. If there is not an overall operating context, it becomes difficult for leaders of individual areas to know what is important or not. To ensure they are not missing something, the list grows. Actually, it was pretty easy to cut the list down from 180 to 12 because people had a clear understanding of what our strategic priorities were."
Companies and individuals struggle with the same issues, whether it's initiatives or resolutions, though I doubt many of you came up with 180 resolutions on New Year's Day. It is important to understand what is going to be the most essential - and to help you make resolutions - which will have the best results and biggest impact.
Define your vision - your overall goals, not just 'goals du jour' Having a vision of what you ultimately want to achieve allows you to focus on what matters and makes it easier to identify the objectives to reach the goal
Keep those goals to a critical few Although we love to believe we are master multitaskers, the truth of the matter is that you can make a bigger impact by doing just a few things.
Communicate those goals It is important to communicate with your family and friends as to what you plan on accomplishing. This allows you to enlist others to keep you accountable.
For your resolutions to succeed, you need a vision of what you want to accomplish, sketch out the steps you need to take to realize those and some way of measuring how you are doing against that goal to adjust your effort or your resolution. This is exactly what you company does when they execute on their strategic objectives.
Let us hope that your company does a good job communicating their vision and goals. Just like with resolutions, you have to make them happen, at your company, it's knowing how your efforts directly contribute to achieving organizational goals.
As the passage from Bob Paladino's book points out, it is easy to get sidetracked from important objectives by day-to-day issues. It is easy to try to do everything with a to-do list as long as the Nile River. The challenge - for both resolutions and managing enterprise performance is to have a clear idea of the priorities and choosing those few, vital areas as the center of your attention and efforts.
Good luck realizing your resolutions this year. One of my resolutions is contributing more regularly to these pages.
"A heart to resolve, a head to contrive, and a hand to execute." - Edward Gibbon