Does it feel like 2016 is just flying by? Very soon September 1 will be upon us and the year’s 4th quarter will be off and running. I bet you set goals for 2016. When was the last time you looked back at them? How’s it looking? Successful? Disappointing? Somewhere in between? It’s not unusual to still have unachieved goals floating around out there. So, let’s talk about how to end the year strong. Let’s get your company focused on how to make the most of Q4.
As Q4 races toward us (Next week! Yikes!), it’s a good time to step back and look at where we are strategically this year. Most of us still have 2016 goals that we’d like to achieve. It’s not too late. With three months left in the year it’s going to be about highlighting the key goal(s) still left and focus your business on achieving them. Here’s how I would recommend going about it.
1. Assess where you are.
Be honest. Look back at your key goals (hopefully there were only an important few). Have you met them? Are you making progress toward them? You have to begin by being open and honest about where your company stands.
2. Identify the 4Q top goal – preferably one
Of the goals that are left unachieved, identify the most important one. What is the one goal that will make the most positive impact on your business? A good practice is to do this as a leadership team. You might, as the business’s leader, have an idea about what the main priority should be for the rest of 2016; but really it’s better if you do this as a team. Get everyone on board and in agreement. Look at that goal carefully. Be crystal-clear about how achieving this goal will impact your business. In short, know why this is important to the future of your company.
3. Develop a strategy
Make sure (you should already have this but….) and be clear about how you are going to measure success. It’s critical that you know where you stand and develop a strategy (or a set of strategies) for getting your company from Point A to Point B. Brainstorm with your team. Arrive at a solid strategy that your team is in agreement with.
4. Share it across your organization – and create an execution plan.
Think about how any strategy gets achieved. Is it you the business’s leader. Maybe a little. Is it your leadership team? Yes, they of course play a part. But who makes that day-to-day progress driving toward the goal? It’s the people on the ground. The front-line people. The transaction people. The workers. The delivery people. The receptionists. Just as our workers are the backbone of our economy, they are also the backbone of your individual business. So, let’s not keep them in the dark. Let’s be clear. Let’s get them on board. Let’s get them excited about the goal. Let’s get them focused on this strategy and their place in it. The coach doesn’t win on the field, the players do.
5. Celebrate your success
When you hit that goal, when your Q4 is successful be sure to step back and celebrate what you and your team have achieved. Whether it’s a party, whether it’s bonuses, whatever it is for your business, find a way to acknowledge that the team stayed focused, pulled together, and made a key strategic goal happen.
So, you think 2016 is whizzing by you and your business? Some goals have been nailed. Some are still unmet. Some are in progress. But Q4 is essentially here. You can make it a great quarter for your team. You can identify and knock down the most-impactful goal left to make positive change for your business in 2016. But you need to take some time to get focused on just what that goal is and how you and your team will go about achieving it. Come January you’ll look on Q4 with a big, fat smile on your face. How will that feel? ☺