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2014 goals

Why It’s Important to Take Stock of 2014

Media is filled with best and worst lists of 2014—best business books, worst movies, best “best of ” lists, etc. Although they are momentarily appealing, they only share one person’s subjective view of what good (or bad) looks like for the year. 

What is more valuable is a comparison of results to goals. This is the only meaningful way to measure success and learn from the process.

Measuring your yearly accomplishments allows you to assess whether you achieve your goals. It also allows you to reflect on what what worked and didn’t work and which approaches you should start, stop or continue to achieve next year’s goals.

I tried a new goal setting approach this year based on a blog post by Chris Brogan written on January 1st. He recommended choosing three words “that sum up what you want to work on changing/improving in the coming year”. It’s a simple and effective way to prioritize, make decisions and keep track of your progress.

I chose my three words over two weeks. It was important that each one connected to my purpose of helping people and organizations  be more successful by working in new ways. My three words are: purposeful, groundbreaking and global. I used them as guides as I choose how to invest my time.

Here’s my assessment of my ability to achieve each one:

 Purposeful

I had a purposeful year. The assignments I took on had meaningful goals, both for the organizations and people working on themthere were no ‘change for change’s sake’ initiatives. Also, I took on many speaking engagements that provided immediate, positive approaches for attendees, including people going through a downsizing initiative, managers trying to motivate not-for-profit volunteers and specialists seeking to have a voice during constant change.

Groundbreaking

This was not a groundbreaking year. I did do a few new things this year including working in new industries and partnering on a keynote presentation with another author. Both broke new ground and were successful, but didn’t reach the ‘earth shattering’ expectations I had set. I have learned that being groundbreaking in itself is not the goal, although things may be groundbreaking to achieve other goals.

Global

I had a global year, both from business and mindset perspectives. Ninety percent of my assignments were with global organizations working on global projects. They all held fascinating challenges (and rewards) of working across multiple geographies and cultures. I have also developed many new international relationships. It’s a global world and I feel good about my presence in it this year.

My analysis has taught me a lot about how choosing three words each year can guide my actions and behaviours. Taking stock at the end of the year is informing my next year’s word selection too. More on them later.

Phil

What 3 Words Will Keep You Focused in 2014?

Like many people, I have taken time over the holidays to reflect on 2013 achievements and 2014 goals.

I read a newsletter from Chris Brogan about his approach to 2014 planning. He invited his readers to choose three guiding words that sum up what you want to work on in the year. He included a link to the words he had used over the last seven years with tips on what words were most effective.  

After checking them out, I scribbled a few words down in my planning notes but moved onto other things. It wasn’t until I described the exercise to a friend that I became excited by its possibilities. What a simple and effective way to remind you of your priorities and keep you on track. 

The following day, I read a post from another leadership guru, Dan Rockwell’s, called Don’t Make a Resolution; Find a Word. He advocates a one-word approach to focus your actions over the coming year. 

I am definitely a three word person. Here are mine for 2014:

Everything I do must connect to my purpose of helping people and organizations be more successful by working in new ways. My watch-out is becoming absorbed in interesting side projects that are not aligned with my overarching goal. Time is a luxury I cannot afford. 

I am at my best when I am out of my comfort zone. I need to focus on developing new change support offerings and different ways of providing them. More on this in a couple of weeks. 

I wrote Change with Confidence from a global perspective based on my experiences and researched international examples—change is universal. My business also needs to be global, including my writing, speaking engagements and clients. 

Of the three words, only “global” remains from the words I scribbled down last week; better words emerged with time. What this tells me is that I wasn’t clear about my areas of focus until I went through the exercise a few times. 

Maybe this will be true for you. What are your three words for 2014?

Phil

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