Four Things to Consider When Putting Your Annual and Quarterly Plans Together
1. Write Them Down
Inc. magazine writes that. “You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Writing your goals down not only forces you to get clear on what, exactly, it is that you want to accomplish, but doing so plays a part in motivating you to complete the tasks necessary for your success.” So, block out some time in your calendar to sit down and write out your goals. Make it non-negotiable, like a Doctor’s appointment, and get it done. No excuses.
2. Make them SMART
- Specific—We have a tendency to make “increase revenue” one of our goals. We need to get specific. Is it revenue, or profit, or both that we want to increase? How much do we want to increase them to? Is it a percentage, or an actual number? Think it through and write it down where you will see it every day. Another one that I hear often is, “work less”. Hmm, work less to what end? How much less? Better yet, what will you do with your time? How about, I will be home for dinner with my family for three days during the workweek. Or, I will not miss one of my son’s baseball games this season. Now these are some goals!
- Measurable—Our goals need to be measurable so that we can track our progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, build momentum, and get excited as you get closer to achieving your goal. The way to think about it is; How much? How Many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
- Attainable—Our goals need to be achievable. Yes, we want to push ourselves, to challenge ourselves but we must be able to put a plan together and have the ability to achieve them
- Relevant—Our goals need to matter to us. They need to be tied to what is important to us at this moment and align with our longer-term goals.
- Timeframe—Our goals need to have a specific timeframe. Is this a 5-10 year goal, a one-year goal a quarterly goal? Build your plan to be sure that it can be accomplished within that timeframe, put it on the calendar, and meet that timeline.
3: Make Sure That They Are Aligned
Stop chasing squirrels! Avoid planning solely in short term cycles. You might catch the squirrel but, how does that align with your greater goals? As Lewis Carroll says, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Set your end goal, your true destination, and then work backward from there. The goals that you are working on today, in this moment, must align to your 1 year, 3 year and 5-10 year goals.
4: Put an action plan in place
You have set your goals, you have made them SMART, they are aligned with your overall destination, now how are you going to get there? First, identify all of the obstacles that may prevent you from hitting your goals. Or any initiatives that must be implemented to achieve them. Then, develop a step-by-step plan to either clear the obstacles or implement the initiative in the timeframe that you have identified. Again, time should be specifically dedicated in your calendar to work on your action plan.