The New Year brings a fresh start and new opportunities if you are ready. A key component to setting the stage for success in 2017 is taking the time to review 2016, and I have developed a three-step process to help you review, reconnect and create a plan for a focused and successful 2017.
I would encourage you to seek input from your team and stakeholders in this process. Many times, they are on the frontline interacting with your customers and have knowledge that is important to your success. At times, entrepreneurs are so tied up in running their businesses that they forget what experience they were trying to deliver to their clients and customers.
Anyone who has worked with me knows I am a big fan of the “Benjamin Franklin” method of decision-making. He developed this system to bring order to the process. My version is slightly different, but the process is the same. If you are not familiar, it is simple; create a chart with two columns; one column of things that have worked well during the year, and another for those that have not worked. This helps you clearly identify and write down specific items in a succinct manner. This should be done over several days. Get team members to contribute their thoughts, write them down on a white board or flip chart, and leave them there to be reflected upon. Over a few days, you might find that you will want to add items and or remove others.
After a time of reflection, the next step is to take each item and ask why. You do this for both sides–ask yourself why the items in column one worked well and why the items in column two did not work well. This step requires you to critically evaluate and use your findings in creative problem solving. Are the processes you are using to service your clients or customers the most efficient and profitable? Why or why not? Which designs are working or not working and why? You should also use this step to evaluate your marketing and social media efforts and other areas of your business to critically evaluate their success.
Create an action plan
From what you are learning, create an action plan with specific items, the area in your evaluation it addresses, and a time frame for action. Of course, you MUST prioritize your actions. You will run yourself ragged if you chase everything. By prioritizing, delegating and staying focused you will have better results. Always include plans to celebrate successes but most of your learning will come from your failures and will be the drivers for your next success. Take the time to understand them.
Try these three steps. Your whole team will be invested into the success of your plan. Put your Benjamin Franklin thinking cap on and have a successful 2017!