The new year often brings with it an onslaught of planning. We make plans for what we want to achieve within our companies, within our departments, and often in our lives. This usually takes the form of us listing everything we feel we need to achieve that year and assigning dates and sometimes detailed action-plans. Unfortunately, while we may gain short-term success from this activity, our long-term success could be serious stunted.
The problem with yearly planning is it’s just that – yearly. Planning should be done with the big picture in mind. Before planning, we should construct a vision. This is true in companies and in our lives. When you don’t have a vision, life happens to you.
Creating a vision first allows you to happen to life. A good vision will illustrate what you want your company (or your life) to look like way into the future! The easiest way to create a vision is to ask yourself what do you want [fill in the blank] to look like in a lifetime. Walk through your company, department, life, etc. for a day in the future. What do you see? What accomplishments have you achieved? What are people saying about you?
From your vision you can create long-term objectives. Long-term objectives are almost like mini-visions. What do you want the company to look like five years from now? Where are you trying to go? Long-term objectives become your measuring stick when you encounter great initiatives you think you or your company should adopt. See an opportunity to increase customer engagement by breaking into a new market? Great – how does it fit into your long-term objectives? Presented as an individual with the honor of being elected to the board of directors of a non-profit? Great – how does it fit into your long term objectives? Just because it’s a great idea doesn’t mean it’s a great idea for you at that moment in time. One of the major hurdles separating us from greatness is our tendency to not stay focused on our vision. We start chasing great ideas, which ultimately dilutes our success.
Once you have a vision and your long-term objectives, plan away! You will now be able to create your to-do list with dates and action plans and will be reassured knowing your planning and executing will bring you one step closer to your ultimate destination.
Jana Axline is president and leadership coach at Axline Solutions. Through her leadership musings she hopes to inspire audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Axline Solutions.