It’s resolution time. Yes, even at work.
While most of the popular New Year’s resolutions — eat right, work out more, learn a new language — might be personal, there are always attainable resolutions in the workplace.
Through the years I have seen many organizations and leaders make large commitments to achieve ambitious goals. With that came progress. But all too often, after a few years, the progress is lost. Just like humans who struggle to hold the gains, organizations can struggle to hold gains.
That’s the thing about resolutions, everyone wants to improve and keep it going. So it’s not a lack of want-to. But here are seven things to watch for, and with those, seven tips to make your work-related resolutions successful in 2017:
1. The goals are too aggressive. It can feel good to set lofty goals. But if they are too aggressive, it quickly proves too hard to ramp up that much change fast enough to achieve the goal. The energy can’t be sustained. Building a great company is a marathon, not a sprint. So after a burst of energy, the pace crashes. Don’t sell yourself short on your goals, just make sure there are steps and you give yourself the ability to transition to new steps when needed.
2. The timeline is too short. Much like goals, the time to achieve milestones is often too short. The intensity can’t be kept up. Set realistic timelines.
3. Not accounting for actions that can be stopped. Most employees and leaders know the feeling of having items added to their plate without anything taken off. Take a deep view of actions that can be reduced or stopped.
4. Managers and staff do not have skills to achieve desired results. Identify the skills that need to be improved or introduced to attain the identified goals. It’s easy to glaze over this saying “let’s worker smarter not harder.” I feel that everyone is trying to do that. It is vital to take time to identify those skills that managers and employees will need to improve your organization’s performance. Provide time for new skills to be acquired before any goals are ramped up. Allow goals to be moved up as the year progresses.
5. Processes not improved. You know what you get when you use the same processes? Similar results. You can’t expect bigger gains without taking a hard look at your processes. A key skill needed in an organization is process improvement methods to make work more efficient.
6. Employee issues are present. Want to achieve bigger goals? They will require change, so it’s smart to measure employee satisfaction to assess readiness for those new goals. Taking the temperature of the employees before setting new goals provides strengths to build upon and introduces items that need to be addressed. This is a critical factor for setting the company up for success.
7. The “why” is not understood. The employees need to work harder to reach bigger goals. But do they know the “why” behind the changes? The more the why is understood and connected to the new goal, the more committed everyone can be to the company’s success. The “why” could be because it’s needed to stay in business. It could be job security; it could be better pay or it may just be that these new goals will make life better. For example, I know our employees at the Studer Family of Companies feel good that we invest so much into helping children learn with profits.
As 2017 gets rolling, I want to thank the News Journal for providing me this column to do what I love — teach. We have a busy year planned at the Studer Community Institute. The partnership with the University of Chicago to bring the Thirty Million Words process to every child born in Escambia County will take center stage. We also are working with many area stakeholders to make Pensacola “America’s First Early Learning City.” On the job creation front, we have lined up a great faculty to provide a number of skill building programs for small businesses at SCI. EntreCon will be back this fall and will be great.
Quint Studer is the founder of the Studer Community Institute and a successful business leader, speaker and author. He is also the entrepreneur in residence at the University of West Florida.
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