Traditionally the coming of the New Year is a time for people to reflect on the past year’s achievements and to set resolutions to do better going forward. In business it is just the same. We close the books, evaluate results and set goals and objectives for the coming year. I believe this is a very healthy process. How well it is done can often determine just how successful we can be in the coming
There are many sophisticated analytical tools and models around to assist with this process. I believe in keeping it fairly simple. Historically, an approach I found that helps keep me focused on this analysis was to ask three basic questions:
- What worked last year and why?
- What did not work last year and why?
- What can be anticipated to be different in the coming year, i.e. what has changed?
These questions can be applied to a business as a whole, to a functional area within the business or even to a smaller work team within a function. You can do your own an independent analysis or get the perspective from a team, whether it be from the organization, the function, a work team or even from a customer group. The input will all be invaluable to assist you in setting objectives and developing appropriate plans to attain those goals.
Another simple tool to utilize in developing new goals is a SWOT Analysis (Strength / Weakness / Opportunity / Threat). Are goals and plans being established that utilize the Strengths to maximize the Opportunities while marginalizing Weaknesses and eliminating or minimizing the risk of Treats. By focusing on these areas, significant results should occur.
As you would expect, no HR consultant could not end an article such as this without mentioning the need for the goals to be SMART (Specific / Measurable / Attainable / Realistic / Timely). Most New Year’s Resolutions are not kept because they do not meet the SMART criteria. The consequences of failing to meet your New Year’s resolutions are usually not significant. However, as we set objectives in business, that is not the case. We need to be very SMART about what we do. It could very well be the difference between success and very disappointing results.
Do your SWOT Analysis soon, and make your goals and objectives SMART.
Have a happy and profitable New Year!