Business Resolutions Can Work Throughout 2007. Here's How.

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You can turn business resolutions into reality every day. The trick is knowing the language of success.

It's possible to make business resolutions all year long and have them yield results, says Performance Dynamics Group founder, Mark E. Green ( How you state what you want makes all the difference.

Business resolutions often don't work for the same reason that most business leaders miss their performance objectives more often than they'd like.

Simply put, this is a conversation about the strategy of goal setting. The reason that most resolutions never make it past the first week or two is that they are worded as hopes, wants, or wishes which sound like this:

  • "I want to sell more this year,"
  • "I want more satisfied clients," and
  • "I want to improve the quality of my team."

None of the examples are goals -- they're just very general desires. Unless they are converted into goals, the odds of a disappointing or status-quo year mount.

As a speaker, seminar leader, strategist, and coach, Mr. Green teaches his clients to apply a 5-component test to determine whether a statement of want is a real goal or not, which has a direct bearing on how achievable it ultimately is. The acronym for this test is SMART:

1. Specific (Can you clearly visualize the outcome?)

2. Measurable (Can you objectively measure the outcome?)

3. Achievable (Is the goal within the realm of reality / possibility?)

4. Realistically high (Is the goal too easy and not enough of a stretch?)

5. Time-bound (When will the goal be accomplished?)

If we take the resolution examples and converted them into SMART goals that meet the 5-component test, they will sound like this:

  • We will increase 2007 revenue by $275,000 - with half of the increase from new accounts and the other half from add-on business with existing clients.
  • We will reduce client complaints in 2007 by 30% through a combination of improving product quality and customer service.
  • By April 30, 2007, we will research, select, and engage an outside professional to implement training and development processes for management, sales and customer service.

Setting goals is a daunting task, he notes. It's even more daunting to review them regularly, execute the action items, and complete them reasonably near the due date that was originally set.

That said, Mr. Green points out that there is a process you can use to improve your batting average, and therefore the impact of your business goals. It's is called an Annual Goals Review (AGR), and he uses it in various ways with many of his clients. The AGR is a simple 6-step process that helps you to evaluate and plan for the future:

1. Revisit your organization or department Vision Statement (we cannot achieve that which we can't envision or believe).

2. Review the results of your previous year's goal accomplishment (or lack thereof). Are there any goals to carry forward into the New Year?

3. Evaluate your organization or department performance improvement status (this will help you identify areas of need).

4. Create a list of Critical Goal Categories (CGC's). These are areas of focus that are absolutely essential to get the results you want -- try to limit yourself to 5-8.

5. Write SMART goals for each CGC. Be sure to determine the rewards that will accrue to you for completing each goal, the consequences for not completing the goal, the obstacles that could prevent you from completing the goal, the possible solutions and actions steps to be taken, and dates for each step.

6. Assign goals and action steps to individuals for accountability and tracking.

Goal setting and goal planning provide focus and a spark of energy. Without SMART goals and a plan to achieve them, your activities are much like arrows shot up into the air -- you really have no idea where they will land. When you convert your business resolutions into goals, it's a lot easier for you to visualize the outcomes, to plan for them, and -- importantly -- to communicate them in a clear and actionable manner to your team.

You'll find yourself on a path to much more predictable results and to numerous other celebrations of your success in the New Year. Mark Green

Mr. Green works with small businesses to help them improve revenues, enhance profitability, and manage change in a practical, cost effective and sustainable manner. The role he assumes for his clients is a hybrid of catalyst, coach, and business advisor, and his work is fundamentally about developing changes in both thinking and behavior -- individually and organizationally -- that lead to desired outcomes. Mr. Green is an active public speaker, and seminar leader, locally, regionally and nationally. He has appeared on New Jersey and nationally-syndicated radio.

Prior to founding Performance Dynamics in 2003, Mr. Green's professional experience included 15 years in a number of industries and management roles for both small and large firms. His senior management responsibilities included six years of outsourcing and consulting for the banking and technology industries, and three years with a boutique executive search firm specializing in technology and management consulting. Mark also has expertise in event management, publishing, and marketing services.

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