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Entries from January 2015

How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Goal Setting

29th January 2015
Goal settingGoal setting and problem solving are continual tasks in any
business and we often treat them separately. However, using goal setting to
tackle a problem can often deliver a solution that is longer lasting.
I often hear managers say ‘how did it happen, what caused
it?’ when they face a problem, large or small.
These are very valid questions and, what they cause you and
others to do is look at a very specific situation and dig into it until you can
answer the question.
On the other hand, taking a goal setting approach can create
a very different solution that may have a more systemic result.
Here’s an example, a system goes down which results in a
particular part of the business not being able to progress their work. By
asking questions like, how did it happen? allows you to look only at that very
specific situation to understand what happened and how you can rectify it.
If you are on the receiving end of that question it can
sometimes create a defensive reaction and I’ve know this to turn into trying to
find out who is responsible.
Goal SettingStart with the end in mind
Whereas, if you take a goal setting approach the question
you ask is very different – what’s the outcome we want instead? It get’s you
thinking differently. So, you start with the end in mind and you come up with
the outcome – the goal you’d like to see in the future.
It is still good to use the SMART acronym to help you define
the outcome you want and here it is as a reminder:
Specific – be as specific as possible. Think about the
standards you want and maybe how you want it to look like so that you know what
good looks like.
Measurable – How will you measure it when you’ve got it? Is
there a reduction in costs, and increase in productivity, and increase in
customer satisfaction? Be clear about how you’ll measure your outcome.
Achievable – think of this as being more about is what I’m
looking for possible. I have seen people have debates about whether something
is achievable or not and this is often driven by individual mindsets, rather
than reality.
Realistic – Do you believe you can make this happen?
Timebound – set a date by which it will be achieved and if
necessary set some milestones.
Once you have been through this process look at how you can
bring this about and take action.
Taking this approach is more likely to identify flaws in the
system or process.
So next time you have a problem ask your self what outcome
do you want instead? 
A goal properly set is halfway reached.

 Abraham Lincoln

Rules for Success – How to Identify Yours in 3 Simple Steps

8th January 2015
Rules for SuccessIt’s not uncommon for people at this time of year to talk
about their New Year resolutions or the goals they have set. In fact this
morning I had three people ask me this very question.
I am not against this. In fact I have my own process I go
through at the end of each year, which involves me looking at every area of my
life and setting clear goals for the year ahead. In the last 3 years I’ve also
selected a word for the coming year. If you want to know more about this latter
process find more information here.
What was really interesting this morning was that one person
said they had the same resolution as previous years because they never stuck to
It is easy to give up when faced with the first, second, or
third hurdle, so I thought I’d share part of the process I go through each year.
It allows me to identify my own rules for success that help me stay on track,
or at the very least identify what isn’t working.
Reflection on successes
The first step is to reflect over the past year and list,
and by that I mean write them down, all the things you achieved. Consider every
aspect of your life and everything that was an achievement for you no matter
how large or small.
It’s easy for us to forget great things that have happened
and put all our focus on what we didn’t do or should have done.
Take time to look at your list and feel good or even great
about them and acknowledge all that you have achieved. I’ve known some people
to then create their top 10 highlights for the year and use this instead of a
Christmas card. It’s very impressive when you receive one of these too!
Rules for SuccessReflection on what you didn’t achieve YET
This second step is important. The mindset you have when
approaching this step is equally important. This isn’t about beating yourself
up, criticising yourself, or getting into any analysis of what could, should or
didn’t happen. It’s simply about recognising that some things, for all sorts of
reasons, haven’t been achieved yet.
Again write this down – list them and then move onto the
last, and for me the most important, step.
Identify YOUR Rules for Success
Now, with both lists in front of you ask yourself these two
What was it I did that allowed me to succeed and achieve all
that I did last year? What were the rules I had that when I follow them I
Make a note of these.
Then, ask yourself:
What were the rules I wasn’t following, that if you had
followed, would have allowed me to achieve all those things I haven’t yet?
Make a list of these.
This is about taking the learning from the previous year to
ensure you make the best of the next 12 months.
From what you have written down you can now identify the
important things for you to do consistently. This then gives you your own
personal rules for success that you know if you follow them enable you to
Keep them somewhere accessible, so that you can refer to them
if you need to. I find that if something isn’t quite working the way I’d hoped,
it’s usually because one or more of my own rules are not being followed.
Here are mine for this year:
  1. Stay connected – to the people I am working with, my own
    goals and what I care about.
  2. Be consistent – in all that I do working on and in my
  3. Believe and trust in myself – we all have times when we
    doubt ourselves and I am no exception.
  4. Follow through on things I have committed to do for myself
    as well as my clients
  5. Do the work required both professionally and personally –
    this is another way of saying practice what you preach…

I hope this has given you an approach to help keep yourself
on track and it would be lovely to hear what your own rules for success are –
do let me know at
“Success or failure in business is caused more by the
mental attitude than by mental capacities.”
Sir Walter Scott

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