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Have You Made Your New Year Resolutions Yet?

Article By Adam Hurwood | | General News
Happy New Year! Yes, 2014 is here already, the Christmas period is done and dusted, the tree is packed away, and we’re planning on losing those extra kilos gained by a little too much good cheer (or is it just me…?).  We’re also back to work and just as the majority have on a personal level, we should be making business resolutions for the year ahead.

Making resolutions or setting goals has been shown to be a key attribute to long-term success, with research studies showing a direct link between goals and enhanced business performance. Goals help create focus and allow you to allocate time and resources efficiently. They can also provide motivation when times are tough.

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland

Goals help your team members (employees) stay aware of what is expected from them and leaves little room for people to hide behind the cloud of nonexistent expectations. Furthermore, setting and achieving goals translates to feelings of success for both team members and the business as a whole. This invariably leads to greater productivity and confidence.

“Success breeds success.” – Mia Hamm

Here are some guidelines for you to keep in mind when your business sets out to make goals for the year ahead:

1. Be specific. Your goals need to be specific. Avoid overly general or ambiguous goals.

2. Make sure the goal is measurable. If a goal is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether your team is making progress. Measuring progress will help the team stay on track, reach its goal, and experience the satisfaction and joy of achievement.

3. Make the goal achievable. Your goals must be realistic and attainable. While an attainable goal may still stretch a team in order to achieve it, the goal must not be too extreme, as these may be considered meaningless. We want to set goals that are neither out of reach nor below what is considered standard performance.

4. Make sure the goal is relevant. Achieving goals takes time and effort and neither of these are unlimited resources. Therefore we want to make sure we are spending our time and effort wisely. Make sure that you really want to accomplish the goals that you set. This will hopefully make you and your team put in that extra effort when the road gets tough.

5. Set timeframes. A commitment to a deadline helps a team focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. Goals with no end date do not create that sense of urgency which helps maintain motivation.

6. Set goals for both the long-term and short-term. Set goals for the long-term, along with short-term ones that ultimately tie in with the bigger picture/long term goals. Long-term goals can take approximately three to five years to achieve, while short-term goals could take anywhere from a couple of months to a year or two. By setting a combination of the two, you won’t become overwhelmed or discouraged by the long-term goals.

7. Write it down. A written goal represents a real commitment. Commitment is what separates our dreams from our goals. Keep a copy of your goals in sight and refer to them often. Harvard Business School researchers studied the correlation between goal setting and levels of success in persons of similar backgrounds and educational standards. Their studies found that 3% of people were successful, 30% were moderately successful and 67% just existed. The significant difference for the 3% who were successful is that they wrote down specific goals. The 30% who were moderately successful had a general idea of what they wanted to achieve but didn’t have any documented goals. Interestingly the people in the 30% category only needed to put in a small amount of extra effort to jump into the next group.

8. Set goals together and celebrate your success as a team. In order to increase motivation, team members need to participate in the goal-setting process. That’s why leaders need to educate team members on how goals make a contribution to the business’ success, along with the team’s role in making it happen.

If you would like assistance with setting your business goals for the year ahead, please contact your Altitude Accountant.