Ten Tips to Make Your Business Resolutions a Reality
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Let’s look back at the lessons of the past year to inspire our resolutions for the next one. It’s our time to ask ourselves, “What do we want to do? What do we want for our future?”
What I love about thinking about the future is that it’s always positive in my mind. And because we are creatures of habit and we tend to do the same things over and over, it’s important to think about the future and how we want to be different.
When making New Year’s resolutions, people tend to think wishfully about what could be. To turn those wishful ideas into reality, it’s essential to strengthen your year-end business resolutions with clearly defined objectives measured by key results. Below are ten tips to produce consistent, successful results.
When developing your resolutions:
- Think big – be aspirational. I want people to think big about what they can accomplish. I’ll say, “Let’s do a moon shot.” But give each other permission to say, “If we don’t hit it, it’s okay.” In addition, objectives can focus on what you want over the next year or several years.
- Ask the right questions. The best leaders in the planning profession know what questions to ask of themselves and of their teams, such as: “What do we want to do? Why are we doing it? Who is the next strategic hire who will have the biggest impact on our team?” Be specific, asking, for example, “What three steps will we take in the next 90 days toward this objective? What key results are we looking for?”
- Collaborate on goal-setting. Your team needs to be involved in crafting objectives, as they’ll be the ones making them happen. At Merit, we have about a dozen teams, ranging from 5-12 people, that set their own objectives and key results that align with corporate objectives. We’re also super collaborative in our leadership. We all know we don’t have the answers ourselves, but collectively we can come up with a lot of great answers.
- Write them down. Writing moves you from wishful thinking to action. Using your hand and fingers to write your resolutions down or type them makes more of a connection with your brain. You’re telling it these things are important.
- Publish them. A challenge for every business is ensuring that every team member knows the objectives of the business. But if the objectives are published, they can reach every employee. At Merit, we use a portal where everyone can see the overall key results we’re trying to accomplish. Employees can log on to their work boards and see what’s important to leadership. That way they can align their own teams with their leaders’ objectives.
When executing your resolutions:
- Assign ownership of results. Every team member has a part to play, with clear expectations. For example, there may be six key results expected of each team member.
- Assess them. Evaluating your results every quarter keeps you moving forward. Always think about the key results that will move you closer.
- Focus on your priorities. If you know where you’re going (your objective) and if you know how you’re going to get there (your key results), the constant question you ask yourself is “What’s the priority today?” Once I’ve got that clear in my mind, I’m making plans based on the answer to that question. And the fewer priorities you have, the more clarity you will have.
- Focus on the one thing. I was inspired by the book The One Thing by Gary Keller, which asks “What’s the one thing you should be focused on for the greatest effect?” Answering that question brings clarity to all the other things you are doing. In my case, my team at Merit developed an objective for me to focus on in 2022 – spending 80% of my time getting the message out to potential partners who could join Merit. In that way, what I do every day lines up with my priorities. And be aware, this one thing changes from year to year because we constantly need to reinvent ourselves and get better all the time.
- Revisit them regularly. When you’re running a business, you need to revisit your objectives every quarter. They’re fresh and they’re new, not some things we’re thinking about just once a year.
Resolutions are so important, but they become irrelevant if not executed on in a timely manner. By following some of these best practices, I hope it helps bring you and your company success and satisfaction throughout the year.
Rick Kent is the CEO of Merit Financial Advisors, a national wealth management firm with over $5.6 billion in assets that support advisors affiliated with independent broker-dealers, as well as those who are registered investment advisors.