Steps to im­prove what 2017 can mean for your ca­reer

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Kath­leen Win­sor-Games — Kath­leen Win­sor-Games is the prin­ci­pal of The Win­sor Group, a Den­ver-based firm of­fer­ing lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment, team build­ing and ca­reer coach­ing. See her blog at TheWin­

Did you fin­ish strong in 2016? Whether you be­gan the year with New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions or you set goals based on your closely held val­ues and pro­fes­sional strengths, I hope you had a suc­cess­ful year.

Now is the per­fect time to as­sess 2016 and set the stage for suc­cess in 2017.

Take stock. While the mem­ory of 2016 is still fresh, take time to doc­u­ment your suc­cesses. Choose the top three projects you worked on in 2016. Base your choice on those projects that had the great­est pos­i­tive and mea­sur­able im­pact on your or­ga­ni­za­tion.

For each project, write a “Suc­cess Story.” Break each story into these three el­e­ments: the sit­u­a­tion (or chal­lenge), the ac­tions you took and the re­sults ob­tained. In­clude met­rics. This means in­clud­ing one or more of these el­e­ments: how you im­proved ef­fi­ciency, saved money, re­tained cus­tomers, doc­u­mented pro­cesses, im­proved ser­vice or brought in new busi­ness. You will use this “Suc­cess In­ven­tory” to pre­pare for the fu­ture.

De­fine your ver­sion of suc­cess. What does suc­cess

look like for you in 2017? Rather than set­ting vague goals such as “im­prov­ing my ca­reer” or “ex­pand­ing my busi­ness,” use the SMART goal process: that is, make each goal Spe­cific, Mea­sur­able, At­tain­able, Re­al­is­tic and Time-bound.

For in­stance, if you are the head of sales, set a growth goal that meets the SMART goal cri­te­ria. Is it re­al­is­tic to dou­ble sales this year? Prob­a­bly not, how­ever, you could set a re­al­is­tic and at­tain­able goal of in­creas­ing mar­ket share by 6 per­cent and rev­enue by 10 per­cent. You can fur­ther break down this goal into quar­terly or even monthly in­cre­ments.

Suc­cess for you could mean mak­ing bet­ter hires for your de­part­ment and learn­ing to del­e­gate bet­ter. If your skill set or hir­ing process needs to be up­graded, take steps to fill those gaps in the first quar­ter so sub­se­quent hires are more suc­cess­ful.

Suc­cess in 2017 could mean im­prov­ing your re­port­ing re­la­tion­ship with your com­pany CEO. This might in­clude fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of your strate­gic think­ing skills or im­ple­ment­ing a ma­jor ob­jec­tive. Con­versely, suc­cess could mean you have de­cided it is time to “down-shift” your ca­reer and to es­tab­lish a smart suc­ces­sion plan and exit strat­egy.

What­ever suc­cess looks like for you in 2017 us­ing your suc­cess in­ven­tory and SMART goals, you’re now ready to map a plan.

Make a plan and work the plan. Once you have de­ter­mined

the date, or time-bound part of your goal, work back­wards to de­ter­mine those steps near the end date, 90 days from the end date, 6 months from the end date and so on. What are the most im­por­tant mile­stones? Are you al­low­ing a re­al­is­tic amount of time, re­sources and prepa­ra­tion for each step? What help do you need to ac­com­plish for each step? Who will help you?

Most New Year’s res­o­lu­tions fade by Jan. 31. I have ob­served over the years that the goals my clients set based on in­trin­sic val­ues, a com­mit­ment to con­sis­tent ef­fort and a strong sense of ur­gency get pro­found re­sults. Here’s to your suc­cess in 2017.

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