How to Plan Like Great Leaders Do in 2013

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It’s that time of year again; it’s time to publicly reflect on our accomplishments of 2012 and set our sights on the future.

business-leadersSo, did you accomplish your goal(s) in 2012?

If you’re like most people, you developed a few goals for 2012, and you may have even accomplished them. Good for you! Realistically, if you did achieve your goals, you did more than just make a mental “resolution.” It takes more than will power to successfully achieve our goals for ourselves, our teams and our companies.

In 2012, I spent a large amount of time reading up on how leaders set their strategy and goals and see those through to fruition (this was one of my goals). The most notable book that has changed my thinking is “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” by Verne Harnish. In fact, it’s a must-read for anyone serious in building a successful team.

What are the common things great leaders do to ensure engagement and buy in of company goals and values? While it remains that we should create a few, smaller goals, assign metrics, measure and apply consistency toward achieving those goals, the timing around this concept has shifted.

Priorities – I found it interesting that instead of planning for 2013, I would do better creating 5 priorities for the next quarter and identify the clear Top 1 priority. Additionally, these priorities should align with the defined strategy of the company. So what this translates into is:  there is no goal setting for the whole year. It is better to set 30-, 60-, and 90-day goals that relate to the 10-year plan in place.

Defining a simple long-term vision 10 years out and deciding on a few priorities for the next quarter are the two most important decisions a business leader makes. And it’s this push and pull of having both a long-term “fairly steady” piece alongside a short-term “constant flux” dynamic piece that provides the delicate balance needed to drive superior performance.

Data – As you move through your plan, are you collecting and measuring how the team is performing on a daily and weekly basis to quickly assess what the market is demanding?  Are team members given at least one key daily or weekly metric that will drive their performance? In other words, we cannot assess what we cannot measure.

Rhythm – It is important to develop an effective rhythm of daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings to maintain engagement, alignment and accountability. As with any achievement, it is the consistent application of processes that allows for a natural flow to occur.

So how will you implement goal setting this year? Will you lean on the tried and true or will you find out how truly great leaders operating and attempt to emulate those practices?

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