Every leader has a desire to perform better next year. They might even have some ideas to achieve this vision. They have discussions and debates with their teams about what is possible. They are so excited to start the year and begin executing. The holidays seem to last forever as they have time to reflect on their shortcomings in the current year and what they will do different next year. The first week of January is finally here and everyone is back from a restful vacation and full of energy. They begin planning for the new year and the exciting new initiatives. The second week of January, business is starting to pick up and they are beginning to get back into the groove. Customers are calling. The company is still dealing with the issues from last year. The pressure is starting to build. By the third week of January, the business is back at full throttle. Everyone is grinding, issues are boiling, and people are stressed. At this point, any ideas of working on the future are out the window.
Every year 80% of New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned by the end of January and 95% fail throughout the year. I think this statistic is probably in line with many companies for the same reasons. People tend to set aspirational goals without a manageable plan to get there. “I want to lose 50 pounds this year”. January 7th, “This one piece of chocolate cake isn’t going to hurt me.” January 15th, “It’s cold outside, I think I will skip the run today”. January 21st, “What goal?”
Chasing goals is even more challenging when you add the complexity of an entire team. Each member of the team has their own goals and agenda to abandon, “Now I must abandon the company goals as well?”
Leading companies have figured this out. Creating a strong vision, supported by a meaningful purpose is a good start. We still need to create Annual Goals, but they are broken down into 13-week sprints with an end in sight, supported by quarterly goals that are achievable. With all team members working toward the same goals and holding each other accountable, the process can be exhilarating as the team begins to see the company moving in the right direction.
Unfortunately, not all team members buy into the future of the business. These naysayers can torpedo any initiative with one comment, “We don’t have time for this, we need to get back to work”. What they’re really saying is, “I’m struggling with the business we are running today. Any change sounds like more work for me.”.
Unfortunately, when companies get serious about creating healthy, scalable businesses, they often find they have members on their teams who are holding them back. They have put up with them for years when the company was bouncing along, but when they start the peel the onion on the company and what’s holding it back, the naysayers typically stand out like a sore thumb.
We are currently in planning season. I hope you can beat the statistics this year and join the 5% who will achieve their goals and run healthy, scalable, and salable businesses.
Dale Robinette will be leading a Scaling Up Accelerator next quarter This is a one year accelerated program for up to 5 executive teams that want to lean in and scale their business. We will be addressing the four disciplines of business including, People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash with four quarterly offsites. For more information, please check out San Diego Accelerator.