Posts tagged "new year"

If You Know Better Do Better

January 10th, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Goal, Objective 0 thoughts on “If You Know Better Do Better”

We recently heard the story of a hard-working retail cashier, stressed from the holidays, managing to keep her cool in the face of rude customers.

One particularly disrespectful customer reflected on his actions, returned to the store, and fell just short of an apology by saying, “That wasn’t your fault. I know better.”

A genuine apology for his behavior would have been better, and perhaps would not have resulted in this response from the cashier, “If you know better, do better.”

That’s really some great advice for all of us. If we know better, lets do better.

Not another list!

We don’t need to give you yet another list of the things you can be doing better on, be they professional, personal or societal things. There’s no shortage, so pick a few that are most important to you and run with them.

An article at the New York Times entitled How to Do Things Better in 2018 lists and describes 10 things you can focus on (and why), but then goes on to provide links to unique pieces that actually get in to HOW to do better on that particular item.

The article focuses mostly on personal, but also on a few professional areas, such as “How to Build a Successful team.”

Guess what the first step is?

If you guessed, “Make a Plan,” you guessed correctly.

More to the point, the article says, “You need a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish.”

We agree with the intent of that statement, but we are also a little nerdy when it comes to using terminology. You really need clear and measurable OBJECTIVES that support your loftier GOALS. Goals in and of themselves are more of a destination, otherwise, not really measurable beyond “Are we there yet?’

But all nerdiness aside, make a plan and make things measurable. But to that point, make it actionable.

Keep it Simple…Seriously (we object to calling anyone “stupid” so “seriously” is a good substitute)

Meanwhile, Inc. has posted an article entitled 3 Simple Habits I’m Making in 2018 to Drive Better Results. In it, the author’s 3rd simple habit is “Discipline through simplicity,” and, again, we couldn’t agree more.

Plan Canvas is built on the “KISS” model – Keep it Simple, Seriously. So often we just make things too complicated. Take a look at the things you do and ask yourself how you can simplify. Challenge yourself and your team. Make a game of it. There is always a way.

As the new year gets going….

We all know we CAN do better. And as the cashier said, “If you know better, do better.”

That’s the kind of simplicity we can live with.

How Do I Stick to New Year’s Resolutions – We Object to The Question

January 2nd, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post 0 thoughts on “How Do I Stick to New Year’s Resolutions – We Object to The Question”

How do you stick to New Year’s Resolutions?

If you just heard a collective “Ugh” from the Plan Canvas team, it’s because that is an old, tired question that begins with an assumption that, every year, we have to make new resolutions because we just couldn’t stick to them the year before.

But, hey, all the cool kids are doing it, so let’s jump on the how-to-stick-to-new-years-resolutions bandwagon and offer up a few thoughts.

The feel-good stuff is important, but not everything

To be clear, we believe strongly in the feel-good, softer-side of things, like maintaining a positive attitude, doing for others, and pursuing value-based versus profit-driven goals. We believe in pursuing a purpose that is greater than ourselves.

There is a lot to be said for and a lot that can be accomplished through a focus on these things, but, we have to be a little more pragmatic than just thinking about feel-good, softer-sided stuff.

For example, an article at Inc. entitled Three Tips to Help You Follow Through On Your New Year’s Resolutions recommends the following:

  • Don’t be a harsh critic
  • Be a better motivator
  • Develop self-compassion

These are all excellent character points that make a lot of sense. But in summary, what the article is saying is, “be a better person and you’re more likely to follow through with resolutions.”

There is even some lab work to support this position, but, call us cautiously skeptical. Some of the most hateful people in history were also the most resolved. And how many really nice people do you know that never seem to be able to stick to resolutions?

Which leads us to say…

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We are sorry to say, it takes discipline

You can’t just snap your fingers and say, “I am now a better person. I am now more resolved to stick to resolutions than I was prior to the snapping of the fingers!”

Hey, we’d rather have lean muscle mass and a healthy heart without having to worry about nutrition and exercise, but, it doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately, like anything else worth having, resolve takes discipline.

Are there any magic steps?

Not really. But here are a few steps to follow:

Step One. Define what you want to accomplish. Just say it out loud. Then write it down.

Step Two. Make a proclamation – a mental snapping of the fingers as in to say, “I am going to do this.”

Step Three. This is followed closely by a proclamation that not only are you going to do this, but you’ve GOT this! A positive attitude will dramatically improve the likelihood of a successful outcome, so, you have to genuinely believe you can do it.

Step Four. Track and record your progress. If there is a magic step at all, it’s this one. As you record progress, you begin seeing advances – even if tiny advances. Your mind starts to truly believe, “Hey, I REALLY CAN do this.” You begin to protect that forward progress because you worked hard to achieve it. No one, not even you yourself, is going to steal it away from you.

Step Five. Keep doing Steps 1 thru 4. Make them a habit.

A great place to start

Plan Canvas includes a Personal Plan designed for any individual to use. It focuses on 4 major categories including:

  • Career
  • Current Job
  • Personal/Family
  • Spirituality

It asks you to document what you want to include in each of those categories – over the short term, mid-term, and long term. You can think of these as your resolutions (and you don’t need a new year to make them).

Most importantly, it then asks you to specify the actions you will take to accomplish those resolutions. Feel-good stuff is necessary but feeling good doesn’t get it done. You have to take action.

Get a coach!

Whatever tools you use, even if it’s just writing your resolutions on a napkin, ask someone to be your coach. It’s the best way to help you hold yourself accountable. The coach can help you keep track of progress, remind you that you are making progress, help you maintain a positive attitude, and be a sounding board for your ideas, no matter how “crazy” they are.

Click here to see our consultant/coach services. Whether it’s ours, someone else’s, paid, or unpaid – GET A COACH!

Here is to the year 2018. May it be a good one.

Great Ideas for 2018 – A Resolution Revolution

December 19th, 2017 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Goal, Inspiration, Strategic Planning 0 thoughts on “Great Ideas for 2018 – A Resolution Revolution”

Let’s make 2018 the year of the resolution revolution. No more empty promises that fizzle out within the first 2 to 6 weeks. Let’s get serious this time.

An article at The Balance entitled Top New Year’s Resolutions for Business Success has some easy, actionable ideas that we really like a lot, particularly:

  • Make business planning a weekly event
  • Set realistic goals
  • Join a new business organization or networking group
  • Give something back to your community

Of course we like them because they are essentially some of the basic premises on which Plan Canvas is built. Let’s take a look at them a little more closely.

Resolution 1 – Business planning as a weekly event

Honestly, as much as we love business planning, doing it weekly may be a bit of an over-reach. But there are some things relative to the business plan that really should be done weekly. Namely:

  • Review progress against both the strategic and the business plan on a weekly basis. Note, some objectives may only require monthly or quarterly progress checks.
  • Review progress against assigned action items, internal initiatives, and client projects.

Whatever you do, do not write a business plan that is never referred to, tracked against, or updated. Otherwise, you are missing out on the primary benefits of strategically managing a plan – greater results.

Resolution 2 – Set realistic goals

Again, if we are being completely honest, we are OK with setting goals that might seem a little “out there.” Goals should be big, lofty things. Add a dose of reality but think and dream big when setting goals.

Now objectives are another story. Objectives let you know how you are progressing toward goals. One objective may support many goals and one goal is likely to be supported by many objectives. By nature, objectives should be realistic.

In fact that is one of 5 characteristics of a well defined SMART objective:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Time-bound

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Resolution 3 – Join a new business organization or networking group

There are two primary types of groups we highly encourage you to join. One is a business networking group. The other is a peer mastermind group.

Networking groups are focused on growing your business through referrals. In these types of groups you get to know others on a more personal level, building relationships to the point that you mutually, genuinely refer each others’ business, products or services to others – key because it is also your reputation on the line when you refer others to people in your own network.

Peer mastermind groups, are not networking groups at all. They are work groups designed to help members resolve business and personal issues that affect the business. A well run mastermind group “rolls up the sleeves and gets to work.” It is not about socializing over cocktails and business referrals.

Resolution 4 – Give something back to your community

We saved the best for last. Giving back through your business is called “Corporate Social Responsibility” or CSR. Formally defining a CSR program for your business, no matter what size, actually increases your odds of success.

We call it setting value-based goals as opposed to profit-driven goals. When you focus CSR goals, then employee goals, then customer goals, your profit goals will naturally follow and you will feel much more fulfilled.

Resolution 5 – Be intentional in 2018

The year 2018. Here it comes. What will you do? Will you wait and see what happens, or will you intentionally lay out a plan and go after it?

Start with a Plan this New Year

January 3rd, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, Business Plan, Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Leadership, Strategy, Vision 0 thoughts on “Start with a Plan this New Year”
Vision, strategy, plan, business plan

Don’t Lose Sight

Bloated, tired and resolute. That’s how many of us feel as we ring in the new year – determined that this time the resolutions will stick. I WILL lose the weight. I WILL exercise regularly. I WILL get that job. I WILL start that business.

The year usually starts off with us going hard and fast after our resolutions, but within a few weeks for most, it turns back in to business as usual.

For me personally, it will be awfully tough to top 2015. I married the woman I love, which would have made it a great year if nothing else happened.

But a lot more did happen. I published a book and produced a musical that I’d written. I launched a new web site for the book, defined a new consulting service and started an online, on-demand radio program named after the book.

I also got a new hip, and although major surgery like that is no fun and I am still improving from it, I am looking very forward to walking again without pain.

Yes, 2015 was a good year. What will 2016 be like? Who knows? But a couple of good things in the plans include the marriage of 2 of our kids this coming Fall.

And there is the magic word – “plans.”

Whatever your resolutions or goals and objectives this year, without a plan for getting there, you’ll be making the same resolutions net year. No matter what you want to accomplish, it all begins with a plan.

Here’s to making this New Year the year you begin with a plan.

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