90-Day Priorities-Discipline, Patience, and Focus Will Help You Set and Achieve Your Quarterly Goals

Friday, May 10, 2013 13:38
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90-Day Priorities-Discipline, Patience, and Focus Will Help You Set and Achieve Your Quarterly Goals

Tags: business planning | goals | strategic planning

Since we are fast approaching another quarter-end in a little over a month, it is a good time to look at whether you are on target to accomplish the goals you set for your business this year.  Being able to hit these yearly goals depends entirely on what you are doing on a shorter-term basis, daily, weekly, and every 90-days.  Here are some considerations when working on your 90-day priorities.

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Accomplishing your longer-term goals (3, 5, 10 years) requires breaking these down into one year and 90 day short-term goals which I will refer to as priorities.  From that, prioritize your weekly and daily tasks and projects to accomplish your 90-day priorities.  Sounds easy, right?  It’s not.  It takes a huge investment of discipline, patience, and focus for you and your staff to continuously work these 90-day objectives.  Discipline is needed to continuously work on your 90-day priorities, patience is needed to not set overly improbable expectations, and focus is needed to concentrate and work on your firm’s priorities.  If you work these 90-day priorities, you will see marked progress toward your longer-term goals.

Setting and continuously working these 90-day objectives is important for the following reasons:

  • Identifies what you need to accomplish to help reach the firm’s goals.
  • Prioritizes and provides focus on your tasks and projects.
  • Establishes agreement between employee and supervisor regarding individual and department 90-day tasks and priorities. Everyone is “on the same page.”
  • Provides accountability for each employee in the firm.

Setting and working these 90-day objectives should become a way of life in your organization. That way, everyone is speaking the same language and is focusing on the same things.  Each staff member will have different 90-day objectives, but together, accomplishing these objectives leads to attaining the larger firm-wide goal(s).

A few other things to consider in mind when identifying, creating, prioritizing, and working your longer-term goals and 90-day objectives.

  • Put the goals and priorities in writing- this has proven to be an effective way of attaining longer-term goals. If the goals are in writing (documented) you will be reminded of and visualizing your goals, and therefore, more likely to accomplish them.
  • Make goals action-oriented- When documenting the goals, use terms (verbs) like Complete, Finalize, Create, Develop, Prepare, Conduct, Analyze, Write, etc.
  • Keep the list of goals between 4-7, depending on how time-intensive and involved these objectives will be.  If you try to do more than this number, you will only dilute your focus and accomplish less. Stay focused on a few to accomplish more.
  • Prioritized the goals- The most important task or project needing to be completed to accomplish the objective should be first on the list. Continuously identify and prioritize each of your tasks and projects.
  • Use a time deadline.  If you say “Goal X needs to be completed by June 30th” (or whatever date) it creates more urgency.  Since these are 90-day objectives, new ones should be set every 90 days. March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st work well for financial advisory firms since we are used to these dates from a markets and reporting perspective.
  • Make them S.M.A.R.T.- You have likely heard this acronym with variations in the terms used. When you and your staff are creating goals, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T..  Are your goals…
  • SPECIFIC- It has to be easily understood. A good rule for whether the goal is specific is…if someone outside the firm can read the goal and understand it, it is probably specific.
  • MEASURABLE (and MOTIVATIONAL)- You need to be able to measure the goal. How many? How much?
  • ATTAINABLE (or ACHIEVABLE and ACTIONABLE)- Don’t try to accomplish more than is possible in the 90-days.  You want to stretch yourself and your employees without setting unrealistic expectations.
  • REALISTIC (and RELEVANT)- Your team needs to believe that the goal is attainable or you won’t be able to hold them accountable for reaching it.
  • TIMELY (or TIME-BOUND)- Set a reasonable date for completion. By when? This helps create a sense of urgency.

Effectively executing our longer-term plan requires continually measuring progress toward our goals, creating a timeline, and holding each staff member accountable. Think in terms of 90-day chunks.

To be effective managers of our businesses, we need to continually monitor and work on our priorities and goals. This requires us to be disciplined, patient and focused.

Build your business wisely.

 

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