Get SMART: Preparing for 2013

I’m spending this week and part of next doing some business housekeeping, evaluating some new business tools, wrapping up loose ends on a few client projects, and developing new workshop material. And, setting goals for next year.

Setting Goals For Fun and Profit

Set SMART goalsHave you set some new goals for yourself and/or your business for 2013? Make sure they’re “SMART goals”: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

  • Specific – The goal should identify a specific action or event that will take place.
  • Measurable – The outcome should be quantifiable.
  • Achievable – Make sure it’s a goal that is attainable given the available resources, but stretch yourself beyond your normal routine and regular abilities.
  • Relevant – The goal should help you focus on what’s important for you and/or your business.
  • Time-bound – State the time period in which to accomplish the goal.

Clearly stating the goal – and you do need to write them down – is one thing. Getting it done is another. You should have a plan on how to reach your goal. The plan should deconstruct the goal into manageable parts, with stated actions and completion dates. Recognize any required resources (time, money, training, hiring a service, etc.) and include them in the action plan.

Have a Big Audacious Idea and Go From There

Planning the Hierarchy of Important Work

Image credit: John Jantsch, “The Hierarchy of Getting Important Stuff Done”

There are plenty of tips and tools, trainings and worksheets you can find on the web to help with your goal setting and execution. Last year, I found a blog article that described a process that works for me: “Planning the Hierarchy of Important Work.” It actually starts with stating the “Big Audacious Idea.” For my business, it was stating the over-arching goal of the business, even if it took several years to reach it. From the BAI, you describe what to accomplish for the year ahead.

This process adds Priorities as an important element to provide a filter for making determinations about what projects or great new ideas should actually receive consideration going forward. One of my priorities was “Enjoy what you do.”

Next, it has you define your Goals; make sure they’re SMART. As I mentioned, you need to break these down into manageable pieces. For this particular process (I call it “The Pyramid Process”), these are Projects and then Tasks within projects. Each level of the pyramid contributes to the level above it, culminating in contributions to the Big Audacious Idea.

Spend an hour or so, without distractions, and really think about your business. State your Big Audacious Idea and build your business pyramid – your “Plan for the Hierarchy of Important Work.”

Record, Review, Revise

Record it all in a document (mine is online in a Word file in my Business Management directory). Make an appointment with yourself and review it at least once a quarter to make sure your monthly and weekly plans are leading to meeting your objectives.

I’ll be working on a new pyramid for 2013, but my BAI remains the same. I accomplished many of the objectives for 2012 so I’ll set some new ones. As I strive to respond to the needs of my customers, some of the 2012 objectives have become unnecessary or there are better ways to meet the objectives. These will be revised.

Find a goal-setting methodology that works for you, make your plans and stay the course. Else, you’ll be like a baggy old sail flapping in the wind, pushing the boat in whatever direction the wind happens to send it. It’ll take longer to get from Point A (today) to Point B (where you really want to be) in 2013.

Head Into 2013 With Confidence

2013Plan your work and work your plan for a rewarding 2013.


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