A new beginning. It's either another year to pretty much do the same ol' thing or it's a year to set about making better, more doable goals than ever before.
As someone who participates in or leads innumerable brainstorming sessions (even if I'm by myself!) I'm well aware there is an abundance of great ideas. Some of those great ideas turn out to be not the best ideas because of circumstances--further research shows they won't provide the advantage or result desired.
Most of those great ideas aren't practical to implement. Resources (energy, money, leadership) are limited. And as Grandpa often reminded me, "Anything worth doing is worth doing right."
So what to do this year to make things different? Better? More effective? Say no.
Strategic Plan for 2006 -- 12 Places to Say No
(*italics are my comments)
1. What strategies, initiatives and activities will you say "no" to?
There is great feeling focus, empowerment, and impact when everyone agrees on paper the activities that will not be done.
2. What measurements will you ignore?
...pay close attention to [those]...related to customer satisfaction and the levers that directly drive growth, margin, operating expense and ROI.
(Ignore those that emphasize destructive behaviors and are LAGGING indicators, such as charge hours and realization--focus on LEADING indicators, KPIs that contribute to growth)
3. What customers will you not target?
Who is your ideal prospect, client or customer? If you haven’t identified them, you should. Then, articulate who you will not target. Finally, make decisions on segments of your customers that deserve "platinum” treatment, and those who don’t.
4. What relationships will you not keep?
People are the key to a company’s success. Therefore, people who aren’t working out are draining effectiveness and risking success...."Life is like 6 sides of a dice. There is no seventh side. You have to choose where, how and with whom you spend those 6 sides…and how much time you spend on each side."
5. What competitors will you not follow?
Most companies should only pay close attention to a couple of competitors. If you try to pay attention to the entire set of competitors in a large industry, you spend too little time focusing on the customer.
6. What will you remove from your web site?
Web sites are magnets for content and pages that build up over time. Eventually, many of these pages get one visit per month. It’s often why large companies do a redesign every 2-3 years…get an outside perspective.
7. What money will you not spend?
Every dollar spent in an organization should be thought of as an investment towards greater operating income -- even petty cash. With this in mind, what things, or even entire budget categories, will you not spend?
8. What meetings will you decline?
...choosing meetings is a conscious decision every executive needs to make. The meetings should be used to make strategic decisions, where multiple functions are involved. Decline or delegate informational meetings.
9. What trips will you not make?
I can't deny the power of 'showing up' in person....great things happen when I show up and interact with customers and colleagues. Nonetheless, trips are very time consuming…consider how you can use technology to replace trips, and only travel when it can make a big impact towards your primary goals.
10. What slides will you not create?
Early in my career, I believed the audience should know as much as possible....the audience probably cared about the information that was on two slides. The “less is more” principle definitely applies to presentations.
11. What will you not say?
[A particular man in high regard]...sticks with a principle of saying nothing that does not move the ‘agenda’ forward or uplift others....By consciously choosing 2 or 3 things not to say this year (or ways to say them), perhaps you can ironically discover what’s ‘missing’ from your leadership effectiveness.
12. What thoughts will you not entertain?
I’ve come to realize that everyone (even great leaders) have thoughts of inadequacy. It seems the great leaders choose to remove those thoughts when they appear. Don’t tolerate negative thoughts about yourself or others. If that doesn’t work, then as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do the act, and the attitude follows.”
So, here's to a year of great success and choosing to say "no" strategically!