Those who know me know that I am a driving force, determined to get things done despite the odds. From an early age, I have exhibited the characteristic of tenacity. I don’t give up easily, and I don’t allow others to give up easily, either. And I love a good challenge.
With that in mind, my New Years advice may then come as a surprise to many, the opposite of what you would expect.
My advice: Don’t just do something, STAND there!
You see, I learned a long time ago that you can be driven. But if you’re driven in the wrong direction or driven without focus, you accomplish the same as someone who is not driven at all – nothing.
And so, as we pause briefly on the brink of a brand new year, I encourage you as a leader to STAND there. Take an hour or a few hours and ask yourself the right questions before you step into 2015.
Ask yourself if you have…
Have you determined the “big picture” goals you want to accomplish this year? In the interest of beginning with the end in mind, have you defined “the end”? It’s a question of the obvious, and yet so many miss this key starting point. Once you know “the end”, you simply need to break it down into segments and “plan the trip”.
Team, Tools, and Resources
Do you have a team to help you reach your goals? Teachers, Encouragers, Allies, and Mentees? You need teachers to help you learn what you do not know; encouragers to help you when your motivation wanes, allies to provide collaborative support, and mentees to ensure you share with others what you have learned.
Do you have the right tools to do the job? There are many technology tools available for businesses these days. Invest in the ones that serve your business the best. You don’t have to spend excessively, but you’re not going to build a state of the art corporation on 1980’s technology, either.
Do you have the resources – physically and financially – to support your strategy?
A good leader has answers before the questions are asked, the solutions before the needs arise. Does your strategic plan address the obstacles?
For a plan to be effective, there must be clear direction and communication. Are you communicating with your team? Have you shared your plan with those responsible for helping to carry it out? And, just as important, have you requested their ideas and input as well? Communication is as much about listening as it is about speaking. The most effective leaders are those who communicate well.
It is a common cliche and very true: “Goals are dreams with deadlines.” My mentor, Dan Miller, has a highly successful book 48 Days to the Work You Love and one reason for its success is the fact that, in it, he establishes a deadline…a path you can begin in just 48 days.
You can tell if someone is serious about a goal by listening for their timeline words. If they say “this month” or “in the next 90 days” it is much different than if they say “one of these days” or “sometime”. What timeline words are you using to define your goals?
Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions – and answered them with clear definition – my next advice to you is then quite the opposite: Don’t just stand there, do something!
But get the order right – STAND first, then DO!
I wish you the very best in 2015!