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2016 – Your best year ever

As the working year comes to a close, how many of you reflect back on 2015? In doing so, how well does it inform your 2016 planning?

We need to invest more time in planning. In 2016 most of you will work 2,000+ hours. Is it not worthwhile investing 5% of this time to plan what you want to achieve in 2016 and how you are going to do it? That’s about 100 hours on ensuring that 2016 is your best year ever.

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A plan for your plan

Let’s assume you accept 5% as the right amount of time for your 2016 goal setting and planning. This equates to 104 hours, based on working 45 hours per week for 46 weeks. You can break this down into two components. The first is the front end goal setting, for which we have 40 hours. A full week. Then we have a quarterly cycle of reviews, adjustments to the plan and focus on the upcoming quarter. For this, we have 16 hours each quarter. Two full days.

A full week for goal setting and project planning. How many of you commit that amount of time? Few I suspect.

And a full 2 days for each quarterly review. This review also needs to include planning for the upcoming quarter. That is a nice amount of time. Given that we are approaching the end of 2015, let’s take a look at the first of these blocks of time. The full week of goal setting and portfolio planning for 2016.

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2016 Goal setting and front end planning

Now that you have an amount of time for goal setting, you need to plot out the key activities. Key activities are:

Phase 1: Review of last year

  1. Review of 2015.
    • Goal setting and the results
    • What went well and how can you do it again in the coming year
    • What did not work out well? Why? How can you avoid this in 2016
    • Summary: On a scale of 1–10, what would you give this year? What would it have taken to make it a 10?

Give your self a day, perhaps spread over the first week of December. Then move on to Phase 2.

Phase 2: Key themes and associated goals for 2016

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Note: The above is taken from “The 4 Disciplines of Execution”

  1. Pick the main areas of your business or career that you want to set goals for. Often, people are overly zealous. They set too many goals. The result is a lack of focus, which in turn leads to a poor rate of success in achieving. Set 3–4 really big goals, based on key areas that are important to where you want to go in 2016.
  2. For the key areas of your business or career, pick one big goal. Be as specific as you can. It should be:
    • Meaningful
    • Specific (Time, Unit of Measure, Success number)
    • Ambitious
  3. Write it down and leave it for 24 hours
  4. Read it again. Does it still excite and scare you? Is it meaningful, specific and ambitious?
  5. Discuss with key stakeholders. This may be your team, business partners, or life partner.
  6. Agree the 3–4 goals for 2016. Lock them in.
  7. Read them again. If these goals are achieved, will 2016 be awesome? If not, go again.

This is the first part of a series of posts which will continue throughout December. They will focus on setting 2016 goals and kick starting the projects that will deliver these goals.

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