A new year is launched and they’re at it again – telling us we need to formulate our New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions (except…well… see below). But it occurred to me that this resolution concept might be useful in dealing with the challenge of the first step in the strategic planning process – articulating your vision.
Yesterday I sent to my family members a list of my seven “resolutions” for 2012. These were not goals – i.e., they were not specific and measurable in the manner of good business goals. Rather, they were direction-setting commitments. For example, number 3 was “to be increasingly creative in what I do.”
So, when I say I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, I’m saying I don’t make a list of personal goals at the beginning of the year that I will then abandon before the end of January. However, I do believe in the value of establishing a personal direction for the year by committing in writing to particular attitudes. These may take the form of a shift in an attitude, or a commitment to continue to value a particular perspective. They also set the stage for my business plan for the year.
My epiphany with regard to the connection between a New Year’s Resolution and a business plan vision is only obvious in hindsight. I think we often resist writing or verbalizing an “envisioned future” for our business because we think of the task as too formidable. We’re facing a blank canvass on which we need to create a masterpiece. However, for many businesses without any written vision, all that’s required is the first step. It can be powerful to state the direction in which you intend to move yourself or your business. It can be as brief as being “resolved to grow”, (either your business, or as a person).
Over time, any vision can expand and/or be modified. But a simple statement, or list of statements, that give a meaningful direction, can be liberating as well as motivating. The stage is then set for defining your specific and measurable goals and business strategies for the next few months.