After a week of listening to people share their New Year’s Resolutions, I am convinced I made the right decision to resolve not to make a New Year’s Resolution. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big supporter of making positive changes. The problem I have is breaking resolutions.
The first issue is that waiting until January 1st to make a positive change, begs the question of whether there is a real commitment to the resolution. If the resolution is important, than why wait until the first of the year to make the change?
However, the real problem with New Year’s Resolutions is the same issue that most of us have in business. We commit to a change, a project, or a business initiative, but fail to commit to the planning that is necessary to execute properly. It doesn’t matter if you are committing to lose weight, stop smoking, find a new job, implement a new CRM project or develop a new product line. If you commit without a proper strategic plan, then you are destined to break your resolution.
The first step is to define your objective. On a personal level, it may be to improve your health. On the business side, it may be to improve your customer satisfaction. Then you need to define your strategy. If your goal is to improve your health, you may decide to lose weight. If your goal is to improve your customer satisfaction, you may decide to create a stronger link with your customer base to improve communication. Next, you need to define tactics to support your strategy. In the case of the personal goal, you may decide to join a gym or take up running. On the business side you may decide to implement an online community to create real-time dialog with your customers. Finally, you need to set measureable milestones to reach your goal and then measure them along the way. Without specific targets and a commitment to measuring progress, it is difficult to determine if the right efforts are being made.
It is also important to be prepared to make mid-course changes. You may find that running by itself isn’t helping you reach your weight goal and you need to make improvements to your diet. You may decide that the online community isn’t getting traction, and therefore, a more traditional customer satisfaction survey combined with a commitment to making substantial changes based on customer feedback is more appropriate.
The bottom line is that making a corporate commitment at a strategic planning session can be no more effective than resolving to lose weight after several cocktails on New Year’s Eve, unless you are prepared to commit to the balance of the process. Strategic planning works, when implemented properly. However, it fails miserably if implemented poorly.
This year I made a resolution to not make a New Year’s resolution, but rather to commit to the full process both on a personal and professional level. Your thoughts?
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