As the end of year ‘resolution’ season is upon us, many look to 2021 as a year full of opportunity. Many business leaders and entrepreneurs use the holiday season to take stock of the year that was and plan for the future. But how can you make effective plans that drive real change? And how can you empower yourself and your team with the right framework to achieve your goals? asks Jason Toshack, General Manager ANZ at Oracle NetSuite.
Here are four crucial steps to follow for a successful 2021.
Ditch the New Year’s resolution
Studies have shown that making a vague resolution is rarely successful, with 80 per cent of New Year’s resolutions failing by the second week of February. Why? While well-intentioned, resolutions made with ‘gut-feel’ lack the strategy and tactical foresight to turn the idea to reality.
A far better approach is to use SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound. It’s an age-old approach, but it works because it forces you to make concrete plans that can be executed and measured.
Where to start?
Before setting your SMART goals, use a simple SWOT grid – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – to map out the state of your business. Some thought starters in different areas of the business could be:
- What does my business excel in? Can I make it more efficient?
- What can I improve? Is my supply chain resilient or my customer experience seamless enough?
- Are there new markets or geographies I can grow into? How do I get there?
- Is my sector likely to be disrupted? How can I mitigate any risks?
While it makes sense to take the big picture view of your business when conducting a SWOT analysis, you may find it beneficial to break it down into functional areas like sales, marketing, manufacturing or supply chain. This will help you find more specific aspects that you can address using SMART goals.
Themes and pain points will start to emerge as you examine every aspect of the business. For example, you may realise that data visibility is a sore point across your teams. Or it could be a case that you have outgrown your current systems and need something more robust to take the business where you want to go. Whatever the case, these themes form the foundation for your SMART goals.
Rally the team
With your SMART goals in mind, it’s time to rally the troops. Involve the team from the start and listen to their feedback. As the day-to-day executors of the strategy, the team will have valuable insights on where and how things can be improved. Bringing everyone on the journey with you increases the likelihood that goals are achieved.
With the team on board, take things a step further by linking employee’s KPIs to these business priorities. This encourages accountability and helps employees see the impact they are driving.
As businesses look to increase efficiencies or scale for growth, there often comes the point where outdated systems become an inhibitor. Some may rationalise that investment in better systems is a cost that can be delayed or avoided – it’s often only a matter of time before inefficiencies and a lack of flexibility stunts growth, so think about the positives of investing in a solution that will drive long-term value.
It is a great time to think about where you want to take your business in 2021 and beyond. By using a tried-and-true approach to planning and goal setting, bringing your team along for the journey and investing in technology that will drive value, business leaders can be better set up for success.
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