My friend wrote this note and I am sharing it with all of you! My first "guest blog" but worth every word!
It's that time of year again folks.. It's time to sit down and start planning for the next years goals. This is something that I've implemented in my end of year routine in order to ensure the successful planning, execution, and control of my yearly goals. I usually start the process about the second week of November and complete it right before new years. I want to share my process with everyone in hopes that someone will find some value in it since it's worked wonders for me the past few years. I'll try to keep this as brief as I can so forgive me if I go off on a tangent on a few things..PLANNINGFirst thing you need to do is pray. I say this because in anything that you want in life you need to take it your maker first and ask for the direction and blessing that you'll need to make it a success. Also realize that not everything that we want for ourselves will be in line with what the person you pray to wants for you. After this crucial step you will be ready to get down to business.
The next step will be to make a full assessment of your successes and failures of the past year. This is a necessary step because it's very important for you to identify and build on the factors that helped you succeed as well as those that deterred you from getting what you want.
EXAMPLE: One of my successes for the year was attaining my Project Management Professional Certification. I was able to achieve this goal by doing my due diligence. I had already known that most folks that attempted to get this certification failed their first time. I went ahead and contacted folks who were able to become certified as well as those who failed.. I had a frank conversation with them and was able to get their assessment on their path to success or failure. I put a plan in place in order to build on the positive factors and remove those that were negative. At the end of the day the plan was a 7 month plan that started in October of 2009 and ended in April of 2010 and the PMP designation at the end of my name.Going forward, I know that whatever I will plan for the year 2011 will include this process. One thing that's important as a part of this process is to draft a LESSONS LEARNED document. This will contain everything you did that brought about success as well as failures, and steps to improve them.Before we move onto the next step it will be important to decide whether you want to pursue any goals that weren't reached in the past year. For whatever reason, things just didn't work out. If the goal was one that is near and dear to you I would recommend that you try again. If not, move on. It shouldn't have been a goal in the first place.
Now that you have been spiritually empowered and are armed with your lessons learned (LL) document, you can move on to step three: WHAT DO I WANT TO DO IN THE NEXT YEAR.. This is where the work begins. You will have to decide what you want and how it will impact the different aspects of your life (work, family, education, church, social). In fact the goal may be related to any of the five items in parentheses and have an affect on one another. You will need to first list them down in order of importance. If you have a list of 8 goals, with 3 primary and 5 secondary goals, start planning your primary goals first.
What you will want to do is to give the 3 goals some weight (priority). Weight is derived by figuring out the major factors that will affect the success of the goal. The three main constraints to any goal are usually cost, time, and scope. These three constraints usually compete with each other in that if one increases you will most likely have to increase the other two. Time and cost are pretty much self explanatory but scope refers to the tools and resources needed to achieve the goal. I usually give each constraint a weight between 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest. Once you've weighted your goals you can pretty much figure out which one will be of high priority and which ones will not. You will also have an idea of how much time it will take, how much money each will cost, and what you will need to help implement them. This information will all end up on your next years budget and calendar.What you have just achieved in the last step is the initial draft of parts of your budget and planning calendar. Your budget will be complete once you've included your everyday items needed for survival including rent/mortgage, groceries, gas, ect. One side note on completing your budget. It is important to spend a month paying attention to everything that you spend. I mean everything. Down to how many chapsticks and packs of gum. Doing so will allow you to see what waste can be cut out of your monthly spending.
Now, you've pretty much completed the planning process. You should realize that this will continue throughout the next year because factors will change and you will need to be as flexible as you can. Some goals may end up dropping off your list altogether and new ones may be added so please keep that in mind. When you plan costs, you should also have a contingency because markets change, partners drop out of deals, and some folks die.. That's just a fact. Give yourself a cushion.
EXECUTIONWhen executing your plan, you need to be focused, diligent, and proactive. Did I already mention you need to be flexible.. Fear will be a constant feeling that will detract you from executing your plan. You need to understand that the fear that you are having is the fear of failure. The top 10% fail all the time.. They just don't fear it..It's very important to remember to ask for help when you need it. Also, there's no such thing as a dumb question. It's just dumb when you don't ask it.
CONTROLYou will need to constantly check your progress on a monthly and quarterly basis. This needs to be built into the the entire process, even planning. You will need to make sure that you have a quality planning process in place as well as measures in place while executing. During this step you may have to make real time changes to parts of your plan pertaining to the entire goal or one of the constraints. Look at the entire process as a work in progress (WIP).
It is 2:15 am and I have a flight in the morning. I hope that this was informative and of value to some. I also hope that I kept it inline with what I set out to convey because it's late and I'm also on the phone as I am writing..
In conclusion, I AM NOAH.. We are all NOAH.. GOD has given us a mission and it's our duty to build our boat properly to successfully complete the mission. I hope that you take this info and run with it and if you require some more info, please feel free to inbox me and I will make time to go over some things in more detail..
Alfred, PMP, Future CEO