How will you measure your year?
“In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee”
Today I want to share with you a simple process that anybody can adapt to improve their results. This helps if we want to improve our skills, improve our knowledge or just get work done so we can have free time to spend on family and friends.
First step, make sure you are clear on what it is you want to achieve. Too often we set ourselves up to fail at the start, by setting poor or unclear goals. You may use a technique like SMART Goals, or it can be just as effective to use a less formal technique.
What is important is that you know what constitutes success, you recognise the good result when you see it. The level of formality in your process is not a substitute for having realistic expectations and staying focussed on the key behaviours and activities that drive your results.
In my case I set out my focus areas in this post earlier in the year. For some years I have used this “3 word” approach to provide focus for the year, then planning detail of specific projects as more certainty and context become known.
This year I had some reasonably concrete focussing objectives; to write 274 words per day (100,000 words for the year), to improve my Time Management discipline (essential to achieve the first) and to focus on Value.
When we know what we want to achieve, the second step is to put some kind of system in place to support that effort.
If you are not familiar with David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) then you might want to take a look. This has been the basis for my system to be able to focus on what I need to focus on, and to ensure I have time reserved to do the things that are important (that contribute to results) not just the things that are urgent.
In my case I also had to improve my process and system around writing. A variable approach, based on flashes of inspiration and bursts of enthusiasm wasn’t going to get those 274 words crafted each and every day. One of the new projects I launched this year was a weekly subscription email newsletter, last week I talked about the tools I use, and this week will be describing my writing process – it is free to subscribe if you are interested in these issues.
Whatever process you use, it has to work for you, in your context. One size never fits all, and there is no one best way to do anything.
Thirdly we need to have periodic reviews. One aspect of the GTD system I appreciate is the idea of a Daily Review. Mine is more a daily reflection than the pure GTD review process – ensuring I think about my 3 words and what to do today to deliver against them.
It was this review step that triggered the subject of this post – we are 50 days into 2015 and it seemed like a good time to publicly review progress. My primary goal is very easy to measure, it was about reaching a daily writing target. Not counting this post I am about 1,000 words ahead of the target for the first 50 days (13,700). Getting the time to do this, and knowing that I have a pipeline full of ideas and outlines tells me my system is working.
But I need your help – only you can tell if you are getting value from the effort? In blogging just as in the workplace – people need and respond to feedback. We need it to help our motivation to work for our own results, and others need feedback from us.
The key is not just to provide feedback on the things people do to help you achieve your immediate objectives, but to take an interest in what the other person wants to achieve.
Three simple steps that anybody can adapt, both to help themselves and others.
- Be clear on what you want and what good results look like.
- How much time do we spend seeking to understand what our business leaders want to achieve outside the risk/BC space?
- Have an appropriate system in place to support your workflow
- Your system, your practices, may not be a good fit for other people
- How much time do we spend helping others put the right systems in place to meet their business objectives, plus help with our risk/BC objective?
- Frequent review and reflection
- More frequent self-assessment – daily reflection is valuable
- How often do we catch-up with key business leaders to understand how they are tracking with their results?
- Isn’t that the real business continuity? Making sure the business is achieving its goals?
Do we understand how we can help others achieve their objective, rather than just how they can help us to achieve our objective?
At the end of the day, they will probably see that as adding value.