As we start fresh into the new year, what are the first things you are going to do as a leader? Maybe you have already taken some steps at the end of 2018, or maybe the end of 2018 was so hectic and winding down took all of your focus. 2018 has zoomed by; will you let 2019 zoom by as well?
The first step of any leader should be to understand what 2018 looked like for you as a person, and for your business or Department. Was 2018 a success, or were aspects successful? Reflection on what worked and what didn’t is paramount to make sure we steer 2019 in the right direction. Change the components that didn’t work, and capitalise on the things that worked! Develop and document a plan that defines what you will do to change or manage the issues from 2018; describe how you will do it in clear steps, with time frames and assigned responsibilities. You can’t just “wing it” and expect success, or expect something to change.
If reviewing the past is the first step, the second will be an assessment of your current state. Do you have the right people, equipment, systems and structures to allow you to maintain where you left off at the end of 2018? Are you sustainable at present to see growth, or even just continue down the same path? Again, make a plan to make the necessary reality.
Most importantly though, is your assessment of the future. Last year I wrote a lot about transformation and change. Our society, communities, cultures and technologies are forever changing and morphing. What was acceptable last year or two years ago is no longer the norm. As businesses and leaders, we have to look into the future, seeing what might be for our products and services, and establishing a plan to keep on top of or keep ahead of the markets and competition that comes our way. As leaders we have to engage with others in our sphere of influence to help us understand what might be, to see the future in the eyes of our customers. We can’t do it alone as we can’t see all of the issues that might influence us.
From all of this is the plan; the plan to fix or make the most of the past, manage the current, and prepare for the future. The plan will not be tucked away and forgotten, but communicated to everyone as that is the direction of the business and contains the things that matter for transformation and growth. The plan will be a collaborative effort, create accountability, and be reviewed regularly for progress. If you don’t develop a plan, don’t expect much to happen. But if you plan well, expect the growth and success you envision. Your plan is like sowing seed; if you don’t plan nothing will grow, and what you do plan for will grow, so make sure you plan for the desired outcomes.