Make 2015 Your Year

Posted by Joseph Sherren on January 14, 2015

Here we are again, at the beginning of a new, exciting and wonderful year, full of amazing opportunities. Now is the time to look at the year ahead and visualize a book in which you are the author, entitled “My 2015”.

When you open it, the pages are all blank. Some people will fill in those pages and create their year ahead and 12 months from now celebrate their successes. Others won’t, and will just hope for the best.

At the end of 2015, they will look back and see what didn’t happen and wonder why. Who will you be? The choice is yours.

Each January, we at the Extraordinary Team and Gateway Leadership fill the pages of our book and map out the year ahead. We discuss business trends, potential opportunities, the political and economic environment, activities we should start doing and things we should stop. We also focus on allocating time for personal development, travel, and family.

This is also the time when many (forward thinking) clients contact us to help facilitate their strategic plans. They find that the start of the new year is the perfect time to rally the troops, bring staff together, reconnect as a team and ensure that everyone is working on the right priorities. It is also the ideal time for managers to work with employees and create their vision for the coming year.

An organization or department working without goals is like a carpenter building a house without a blueprint. Without goal setting, businesses will appear without purpose or direction and staff will not be engaged.

I asked a number of P.E.I.`s more successful business people about how they create their 2015 book, posing, “Do you have an annual ritual you engage in to ensure a prosperous year ahead?”

I received numerous responses and they all showed a strikingly similar trend. Here is just some of the feedback:

1) Review the past year:

Make a list of successes and failures. Develop strategies on how to leverage the accomplishments and mitigate the failures. When a goal is not achieved, Heather Cutcliffe, Health P.E.I., Queen Elizabeth Hospital, takes the time to do a postmortem to understand why, so she can take corrective action for next year.

2) List three to five major objectives that are critical for success in 2015:

People have an ability to do more, achieve more and be more successful if they have a plan. My friend Brian Tracy says, “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.”

3) Complete an environmental scan:

Look at the year ahead and do a SWOT. What Strengths do you currently have that will help achieve your plan. What Weaknesses must be addressed? What are possible new Opportunities to be considered, and are there any Threats beyond your control that you should develop contingencies for?

4) Decide on key activities to focus our time:

We are all busy, but are we busy doing the right things? The top people I spoke with guard their energy and engage only in activities that will most efficiently accelerate their plan. Jeff Cooke of Cooke Insurance says: “The key is to measure each activity. If you do not measure it, it won’t get done.” Mike Cassidy, P.E.I.’s transportation guru says: ”When I look back, I ask – Do I have any regrets? No regrets provides me with adrenaline that fuels my passion. Passion provides energy and drives success.”

Beyond business, Ray Murphy, of Murphy Pharmacies, proactively schedules exercise, education, family and spiritual activities in his annual planning.

My question for managers this week: “What is your strategy to bring your people together and develop a collaborative plan that will result in a successful 2015 for your department or organization?

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