As one year rolls into the next it’s yet again time to stop and contemplate the achievements and challenges of the past and the opportunities that lie in the future. There’s something about this transition between years that triggers a desire to achieve more and do better. This desire is what lies at the heart of the resolutions that we make each New Year.
As business people we are certainly not immune to this period of contemplation and introspection. The holidays offer a valuable opportunity to step back from our involvement in day to day business and reflect on ways that we could improve things, change things, and deliver more. Business resolutions are an opportunity to channel this reflection into business growth. But – just like our personal resolutions – business resolutions can be hard to maintain and challenging to deliver on. So how do we make sure that we create resolutions that will live and breathe and not just gather dust? How do we set targets and follow through to their delivery? We decided to take a close look at business resolutions and the challenge and opportunity of bringing them to life.
What’s the right resolution for you?
When creating a business resolution you effectively start with a blank canvas and have the opportunity to paint any picture for what you want to achieve over the next 12 months and beyond. It’s certainly worth taking your business plan into consideration in any ideas that you come up with – but there’s no need to be limited by existing strategies and targets. Your business resolutions can effectively become additional to the business plan and provide either a boost to existing targets or a new set of metrics to deliver against. Whatever area you choose to focus on we recommend that you try to make your plans clearly defined, succinct and easy to measure.
Business resolutions tend to split into three categories: result focused; business practice focused; and behavioural.
Result focused resolutions
Result focused resolutions are defined by the result they set out to achieve. They are one of the most clearly described and tracked resolutions, but don’t be deceived into thinking that that makes them easier to achieve. Examples of result focused resolutions are: increase sales by x%; grow customer numbers by y; or reduce inventory by z%. It’s important to make sure your targets are realistic but don’t be afraid to push for growth. Once you’ve got a rough idea of the resolution you would like to pursue you can spend some time pulling together an action plan that details the steps you will take to achieve your results.
Business practice focused resolutions
Business practice focused resolutions are more challenging to track as they require a change to the way that you work. Taking the time to set good targets upfront will be key in allowing you to celebrate successes further into the year. Examples of business practice focused resolutions include: putting a stronger focus on marketing; driving improved productivity; or focusing on the way your staff are performing. Because these resolutions tend to involve and impact your wider team it’s a good idea to involve them in the process as early as possible – for example you could certainly include them in the exercise of creating an action plan.
Creating resolutions to change business behaviours can be some of the most challenging to define, measure and achieve. Examples of behavioural resolutions include: learning from past mistakes; thinking outside the box; and paying more attention to the opinions of your staff. There is a widely-held belief that a habit can be formed or broken in 30 days, and that can be a good starting point for business resolutions that sit within this category. Create an action plan to bring your resolution to life for 30 days. When you get to the end of this time you can review and repeat – or evolve – your plan and take your behavioural change forward.
Business resolutions provide a great opportunity to create a focus around a key area of your business and so support getting the right culture in place, right behaviours in place, or even the right results in place. By combining your business resolution with a clear action plan you can bring it to life for the rest of your team, and harness their post-holiday energy and enthusiasm into an extra push for business success in the New Year. Create your business resolutions and step forward into 2016. We wish you good luck for the year ahead.
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