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A Message from Your Future: 3 Business Priorities for 2017

Every year at the holidays, my family plays a game called “Yankee Swap.” In our version, inexpensive, useful gifts are wrapped identically. Each person is given a number, selects and unwraps a gift, or “steals” another player’s opened gift. This year, my gift was a 2017 planner titled “Plans for World Domination 2017.”

Talk about Big Hairy Audacious Goals – this was probably not what Jim Collins had in mind when he coined that phrase in his book “Built to Last.” Although intended as a joke, that planner’s title is a bold message from the future: a new year is an opportunity to refine your business priorities and focus on success. Here’s how with three simple tips.

1. Keep Your Goals on Track.

The often-cited Harvard Goals Study suggests that people with clear, documented goals achieve more and earn more than those who don’t. Once you have written your goals, do the following:

  • Put them into a form that you can review and revise.
  • Set interim outcomes by asking yourself what the monthly or quarterly outcomes of your goals might look like.
  • Schedule a weekly appointment with yourself to review your goals.

2. Get Real.

During your weekly appointment with yourself, keep your business goals visible. Reviewing a standard list of questions at each meeting can help you to focus on what you did during the previous week and what you can do this week. Here are some of the questions to ask yourself:

Business Changes

  • What needs to change in my business?
  • Who can help with this?
  • Which of my current activities or behaviors need to change?

Opportunities and Issues

  • What can be done right now to help to resolve this issue or leverage this opportunity?
  • How do these opportunities or issues impact my business goals and opportunities?

 Priorities and Productivity

  • What percentage of my time do I spend on specific activities?
  • How could I defer or delegate those things?
  • What were the top three things I did last week or I will do next week?

3. Make Someone’s Day – Every Day

If you dared yourself to make someone’s day every day, what kind of impact would it have on your business? It’s a question worth pondering every morning. When I receive a message of compliments or thanks, I tell the sender that he or she has made my day. Expressing this simple appreciation always makes the sender’s day too. When someone does something beneficial for me, or I recognize someone’s influence on a project or activity that is going well, I send a note or email, or call to thank that person for making a positive impact.

No matter what plans you have for your business in 2017, your message from the future is a reminder. Set Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals, then pay close attention to the impact your activities have on your business and relationships.

The Risk of Overcorrecting in Your Small Business

In business, we often are tempted to make aggressive corrections when we discover an issue that is affecting output or productivity. A recent experience reminded me that it is better to undercorrect than to overcorrect. I learned how you can totally lose clarity and focus when you overcorrect. (more…)


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