Steps to improve what 2017 can mean for your career
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.