#2 of a series of 4: Honest self assessment.
Companies which achieve their annual plans on a regular basis generally use a fairly simple planning process. It is routinized and ongoing. The long term survivors make a habit of starting the process with a look at the future, as far ahead as is reasonable. They attempt to forecast market conditions, what's possible for them to attain, and what capital would be required to get to that point. Some businesses use a 5 year plan format, but in other more dynamic industries, a look at the 'future' is only a couple or 3 years because rapidly changing conditions make it too hard to predict.
Compare that process to many small business owners who are trying to scrape by, managing cash flow on a day to day basis, simply to survive. For them, 'the future' is a couple of months from now. Trying to get them to look at a longer term plan is very difficult. However, by not doing so, they usually become trapped in an ongoing circle where they continue using the same actions and approaches. Consequently, they get the same kind of results.
It's the same for individuals. Some people have plans which are built around how they see their life in 5, or more, years in the future; while others just get out of bed each day and tell themselves they are going to 'do the best they can' to have a better life.
Most people who rate themselves as either 'successful' or 'very successful' have a plan for their life. To create their plan, on a regular basis, they take an objective look at where they are currently. Then they consciously try to determine what the future looks like if they continue as is, comparing that to what it could be like with some new approaches.
This process starts with a self SWOT analysis - taking a look at your:
- Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
With an honest assessment of who you are, what you offer and what you face in the future, it is much easier to create a plan which will move you forward and provide greater impetus. Without a thoughtful 'check in' one in a while, we can miss opportunities and overlook growing problems.
Such an analysis doesn't have to be limited to your professional situation. As a coach who strongly advocates having a fully integrated life, I recommend you do it for all 3 aspects of your life - your career, your personal life, and your financial situation.
To have your best year ever, take a clue from successful organizations and start with a SWOT analysis. Ask yourself what do you bring to the party, what needs to be modified or built upon? What COULD the future provide with a little work and thoughtfulness? What's standing in your way?
Till next time
John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion dollar organizations and launching start-ups in both the U.S. and Canada. The author of two published books, he is frequently seen providing advice on TV, in magazines, and newspapers.