Yes, it’s that time of year when you drag out and dust off those pesky goals, the strategic plan and assess how it’s going. The companies that review every 90 days are much more likely to achieve their goals than those that don’t.
Why do we resist this? I think it has to do with the fact that things are moving so fast these days. What was important yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, may no longer seem as important as it once did. It’s also hard to face things we haven’t accomplished yet.
So rather than hold beliefs about what it means when you don’t accomplish something that was on your list, let’s reframe and focus on what you did accomplish and do the oil change on what you need to adjust that is still on the list. Remember that the items on your “goal” list are just items which have differing levels of importance. The only thing it means when you don’t accomplish something is just that – it didn’t get done. It doesn’t mean you are a slacker, a bad person or incapable of accomplishing goals. We attach meaning to accomplishments or the lack thereof – beating yourself up is not helpful and won’t change the way things are. It’s just time to reframe and move forward.
When you review your strategy, start out with an honest assessment of where you are. What’s working? What’s not working? What facts do you now have that you didn’t have when you created it? Based on your progress, how likely is it to be accomplished in the time frame allotted? Be honest about your answers and come up with either a new time frame, or incorporate the other “facts” you now know about to inform and influence a successful outcome. Maybe you are missing a key resource or talent. Now is the time to get them on the team to accomplish the strategy or goals.
It’s completely okay to change or abandon a strategy or design a new way of getting there. There is nothing so foolish as to continue on a plan that is no longer important to the organization or the individual. Some consider this to be “giving up.” I don’t. I consider it making a better decision given the “new” set of circumstances. As Maya Angelou would say, “when you know better, you do better.” If you look at any of the Agile or Lean processes, they are always about “review” and “reinvent.” So why don’t we apply this to our strategic process and our goals? Habit. And without a replacement for how we might approach it, the habit just keeps hold of the process. So it’s time to change the habit with a new way of doing things.
Start with reviewing your strategies and goals as a leader. Decide what’s working, what’s not and make adjustments. Do a rewrite and this time review after 90 days to make course corrections vs. waiting for 180 to pass. Once you’re finished with your personal goals, review the company strategy, and then help your team with theirs. Leadership means you get to go first.