How to make 2017 the year of results

December 14, 2016 -  By

is-511934904_road2017As the calendar year winds down, we find ourselves asking: “How did we do this past year? Was it a successful year or not? Or more specifically, what was successful and what was not so successful? What were our results?”

These are excellent questions to ponder, and this is a good time of year to do so. Too often we’re running at such a rapid pace that we can’t seem to find time to slow down long enough to catch our breath, let alone have time for deep reflection and analysis. Weeks turn into months, seasons run together and before we know it another year is coming to an end. And yet, we know that it’s important to set aside time to disconnect from the daily grind.

Before the New Year begins—or before it gets too far along—let’s make a commitment to get our teams together and develop a plan for 2017. Let’s make 2017 the year of results. To do so, let’s start by reflecting on the past. Avoid the temptation to start looking forward without first looking backward. Let me explain.

Discussions about the future need to have context. Results from this past year—good or bad—didn’t happen in a vacuum. They occurred in the midst of many factors. They were influenced by previous years’ results, competition and the overall direction of your organization. They were affected by your core purpose, core values and culture. Starting with the big picture informs and reminds everyone of the headwinds that brought your organization to where it is today.

The Pro-Motion Consulting team met recently to develop our plan for 2017. We spent about an hour reflecting on what has transpired over the last decade—what led to our formation, what’s been successful, what we’ve tried that wasn’t so successful and how we’re currently positioned. Some of those seated at the table were hearing about these things for the first time and gained a new understanding of the company. As we moved into a discussion about the future, this foundation provided useful context for all.

Take a hard look at 2016’s results. What worked and what didn’t work? What were your goals for 2016? Whom were they assigned to? Were they achieved? Take each initiative or goal and make a determination—hit or miss, success or not-so-much? Why or why not? This is a meaningful exercise and should not be rushed.

Next, take some time to consider the current status of your firm. A review of each functional area will provide a nice outline for this discussion. What do your financials look like? How engaged are your employees? How satisfied are your customers? How consistent is the quality of your product/service delivery? How are you positioned compared to your competitors? Is your value proposition clear? How effective are your sales and marketing activities? And so on. The purpose of this discussion is to identify areas of success to be acknowledged or celebrated and also to identify areas of opportunity to be addressed and acted upon in 2017.

The next step is to consider your long-term vision to ensure that 2017 goals are in alignment and will move the company closer to this long-term vision. Sometimes our focus is at too much of a micro level and we fail to see the big picture. Something that seems like an important goal for 2017 may not be all that important when looking at the long-term vision. Separating strategic goals from lesser goals is an important step because it will help keep you and your team focused on the most important things throughout the year.

The final step is to obtain commitments and implement accountability systems. Team results are achieved when individuals on the team are fully committed to the team, when these individuals are willing to contribute toward team goals, and when there is peer-to-peer accountability. Who is committing to do what? By when? How often will we review the status of each commitment? When is our next status review meeting?

Each member of the Pro-Motion Consulting team made commitments for each quarter, starting with the fourth quarter of 2016 and for each quarter of 2017. Commitments are clear and deadlines are established. Our next review meeting will be in January. Our plan for 2017 is in place. Now we just need to execute the plan.

We all want 2017 to be year of results, but are we all prepared to create a plan with specific strategic goals? Are we all ready to make commitments to our teams? Are we all willing to schedule accountability meetings to review strategic goals?

I hope we will all make 2017 the year of results.

Photo: ©istock.com/Rasica

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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at Phil@GrowTheBench.com. He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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