This time of year brings change for many. Resolutions are going strong, with gym visits and healthy eating on the rise.
The first quarter is also when businesses need to be focused – not on setting resolutions unlikely to be kept, but on achievable goals.
Goal setting, in contrast to resolutions, isn’t optional.
Businesses need to keep their eyes forward this time of year. Determining a plan for the next five years and the milestones you’ll need to hit to reach your destination is critical.
Setting new goals can also be a reflection of what’s behind you. So you increased your workforce by five percent? Now might be the time to focus on decreasing the turnover rate. Your profits are up, so now you want to focus on sustainability. Part of this could even be an internal goal of more paperless transactions to cut costs and minimize waste.
Continued growth can push you to new boundaries, helping you reach destinations you didn’t know existed. Additionally, the setting of goals leads to change for both you and your business. Just as sticking with a resolution of exercise would lead to a healthier body, the goal of streamlining operations can create a culture tied directly to efficient delivery of customer service.
The change process is intimately connected to goal setting. The only way to improve your business is to change what you’re doing. While not necessarily drastic, these changes can keep you on track to hit your goals.
A famous quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein, sheds light on the importance of change to goals: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Think about it this way – if you want to improve profits by five percent, would you keep your sales practices the same and just hope for better results? Absolutely not. You’d make a change in marketing (e.g. on- line advertising) and/or sales (e.g. closing techniques) to reach and acquire more customers, boost your overall revenue and hit that forecast. Change is the only way to hit your goal. Without change, you’re likely to repeat the same results year after year (or worse).
In previous posts I’ve laid out how change can occur. When dissatisfaction, vision and new first steps are stronger than resistance and “the way things have always been done,” change can occur. The turn of the annual calendar often brings about visions of what the coming year holds, the fresh start to take the first steps toward your goals, and the opportunity to look back and see any missteps that held you back.
With all three factors that lead to change at critical mass, the start of the year is peak time for change to occur. Will you let that change happen without distinct plans, or will you use it to reach new heights?