On New Year’s resolutions: Let staff win when company achieves goal

Set New Year goals for your business in 2016 that can be achieved - not those that can fall by the wayside.

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It’s that time of year again when gyms across the globe are enrolling members so fast it looks like a gold rush. Most New Year’s resolutions tend to be aimed at losing weight, quitting smoking or being more financially controlled, and while it is surely a good thing to set goals for ourselves, we all know that come February the number of people at the gyms is back to its normal level.

In fact only 46 per cent of people who set New Year’s resolutions keep at them for six months and only 22 per cent for the whole year. So let’s call a spade a spade – when it comes to setting goals and achieving them, as a race we humans are pretty bad at it.

At the start of this year I was determined not to fall into that category, so I attempted to crack the code of achieving goals. Before making my New Year's resolutions, I did a little research to find a formula for success and discovered some interesting concepts from Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich and from Tim Ferris in the Four Hour Work Week. I adapted their tips to formulate my own method that allows me to say that by the end of this year I had actually achieved my New Year's resolutions.

My first principle is to work at only one goal at a time. While there may be many things we all want to achieve, focus is crucial to delivering high performance. So achieve one, tick it off the list, then move on to the next.

The second principle is that your goal or New Year’s resolution should have a date and a measurable way of achieving it. If losing weight is what you want, give yourself a deadline and a weight to achieve.

Now your goals are set, write them in bold on a large piece of paper and put on your mirror or fridge door. You also need to turn the pressure up so make your resolutions public to your friends. If you can be bold enough to post it on social media, even better. By doing this you will be constantly reminded by your friends, and even your not-such-good-friends if you are wavering from the straight and narrow.

The risk of falling flat on your face means that you have more to live up to as now you are performing on stage. But if you want to take this a step further and really turn up the heat then how about making a one-way financial bet with your friends, say a small sum of money you will pay them if you do not achieve your set goal. Twisting the dagger in your own back will keep you on your toes.

The above principles are simple tools to help achieve personal goals, but can we apply the same to business? If you look at successful large businesses, they are masters in setting visions and corporate objectives which narrow right down to each employee’s job tasks. But for some reason many entrepreneurs dismiss setting a clearly stated vision with measurable goals that are integrated and aligned with employee objectives and incentives.

I have been guilty of this too in the primary phases of new ventures and always focused on immediate tasks and making revenue as soon as possible. Entrepreneurs often take an adaptive, opportunistic approach rather than a predetermined goal and set strategy, as one needs to be responsive to the market to capitalise on the most lucrative opportunity. I do not oppose this flexible approach and in fact believe it is a key to success, however, this flexibility can still exist under a broad corporate vision.

No matter how broad the vision in the early stages of your business, it provides vital direction. As the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle said, “A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder”.

Set your direction and make it a goal that inspires and motivates your staff and make the financial bet with them, except this time turn it around so that they win when the company achieves its goal. Using the simple principles I applied to my 2015 resolutions, this year set and achieve your New Year business resolution and make 2016 a success.

Paris Norriss is an entrepreneur and partner in Coba Education, which provides educators to schools and institutes.


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