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Jans Corner: Resolutions. Setting Goals or Raising Standards?

The beginning of the year is a traditional time for new year’s resolutions or goal setting. We all have been there and done that – both in personal life and in business. We know that resolution time often starts with great enthusiasm and expectations but the results tend to be less impressive. Good intentions can turn into disappointments.

I stumbled upon some interesting research. According to the Opinion Corporation in Princeton, New Jersey, 62% of the surveyed people make New Years resolutions and achieve the following:

  •  8% are always successful
  • 19% achieve resolutions every other year
  • 49% have infrequent success
  • 24% never succeed and have failed on every resolution every year!

Practically, three out of four individuals are likely to fail to keep their resolutions or fall short on achieving their New Year goals! Why? 

Possibly in a moment of opportunity and inspiration – and sometimes desperation – on New Years day we take too much on. It is not easy to stop smoking off the bat, after many years or lose weight when you really love cookies. Same in business. For instance, changing poor customer service into exceptional, is not an easy task to do from day one. Increasing profitability is not just about quick cutting costs or a sales promotion but about adopting new ways of operating in business.

I suggest that we take it easy and little by little. By all means set important inspiring goals for the year but focus also on the small easy wins that can be done on a daily and weekly basis. The small things that don’t require a complete overhaul but just a tweak and a bit of attention or discipline over time. Like starting meetings on time (and with a clear agenda), following up with a potential customer within 24 hours, or saying thank you to a colleague who has done something we take for granted. One can only imagine the cumulative effect of these daily actions on the effective use of time, on sales, and on team motivation.

Small actions – done consistently – will effectively raise the standard of operating that also allows for achieving your goals easier. Like a football team who raises their standard of training, mental preparation and nutrition by a little and this way are able to score one goal more in each game. As a result they tie more games they would have previously lost and win more games they would have previously tied. This may mean the difference between top 3 league position (with its accolades) and being average or bottom of the ranks.

Where can you raise the standard in your business today? What are the little and easy things that when done consistently over the next month or quarter can make a big difference to your performance and achievement of your longer term goals?

Remember it is enough to just pick one for the start. I suggest you pick the easiest for you to do now. You can always take on another one next month and then another one the following month and this way gradually raise standards and build habits of success in your business.

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