Peter Drucker says that being a good executive happens in three stages: getting the knowledge you need, converting this knowledge into effective action, and then ensuring that the whole organization feels responsible and accountable.
He says that the way to get the knowledge you need is to:
Effective leaders find one priority (or two at the most) which are the most important at the time and focus on it. Then when they are done with that task they ask again what needs to be done instead of going right to the second task. Also effective executives focus on those tasks they are especially good at and delegate the rest. They also focus on the enterprise as a whole and not any one constituent or group.
The second stage is converting knowledge into effective actions. This includes:
Action plans create statements of intention, a way of checking results against expectations.
Once you have your business goals set for the year it is imperative to begin thinking about how are you going to market and communicate the benefits of what you are doing to your customers. Begin to think through the following questions:
-Who are my customers?
-What is my unique selling proposition?
-What product or service are you selling/offering to your customers?
-Where do my customers spend time?
-What is the best way to reach out to my customers (e.g. - networking events, blog, speaking engagements, conferences, media, etc)
-What am I best at/comes easiest to me in terms of marketing?
-What can I plan to do each month to market to my customers?
Once you think about these questions you can implement a good marketing plan to reach out to your customers, stay front of mind, and close a deal. What can you start implementing today in order to increase your business?
As a leader, developing a plan for the year can be a time consuming task. Setting the correct course of actions for the year, however, can pay off in dividends in achieving your true long term goals. But the real rubber meets the road when you actually put the plan into action.
How can you make sure you stay on course especially at the beginning of the year?
Create quarterly/weekly plans based off the annual plan - in order to truly meet your longer term goals create smaller action steps that you can focus on daily to achieve those goals. Break down the larger plans into actionable items to do each week and each quarter. This will make the goals less daunting and easier to follow.
Look at your quarterly/weekly goals every morning - in order to stay focused on your goals and on track review those weekly and quarterly goals daily and do the action items that are relevant. By looking at them each day they stay top of mind and reinforces actions that you need to take.
Create some discipline around the new goals - reinforcing the importance of the goals in reaching your long range vision is important to communicate to yourself and your team on a regular basis, especially in the beginning of the year. Creating disciplined messages and actions that are consistent with the goals creates new habits, which will be invaluable in keeping you on track.
Stay flexible with your actions - fire drills will be an inevitability of your role as a leader so staying flexible in your actions is key. However knowing what your plans and vision truly are and where they are taking you will keep the fire drills in perspective and allow you to come back to the long term goals when the emergencies are over.
How are you staying on track with your 2011 goals?
With the holidays now behind us this last week of the year can be spent taking stock of the year AND planning for 2011. You can reflect on the year and begin to set goals for the new year by asking yourself the following questions:
-Did I accomplish my goals for the year?
-What were my biggest accomplishments?
-What were my biggest challenges?
-What were my biggest lessons learned?
-What do I need to let go of in order to start the new year off on a the right foot?
-What are my top goals for 2011?
-How can I prioritize my goals for 2011?
-How can I measure if I reach those goals?
I hope that these questions help you in understanding what worked and didn’t work for the year as well as helps you plan for the new year!
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.