For many of us, the new year represents new beginnings and endeavors (as it should). To begin the new year, many entrepreneurs and small business owners will establish new goals or adjust benchmarks. This practice is excellent, but if you have never done this before or are wondering if you can add some efficiency to the process, we have some tips to help get the “new year goal-setting” process off to a productive start: 

Communication, Communication, Communication!

It is written three times for a reason. Communication is the backbone of goal-setting and meetings surrounding it. How many times have you been asked to participate in a goal-setting meeting and have no idea about the specifics or where you fit? The meeting then becomes a waste of time. A way to combat this is to communicate with your team before the end of November. Inform them of when the goal-setting meeting will take place, how many meetings there will be, the topics, and the information they need to have when they return. This practice will set the tone for an effective goal-setting experience.

goalsEnsure Your Meetings are Useful With A Few Hacks

Who enjoys meetings? Respondents to a study by Atlassian, felt that half of the meetings they attended were a waste of time. While they may be necessary, many times, those hosting the discussions are not optimizing everyone’s time. So, here are three ways you can increase the effectiveness of this process for everyone:

  • Establish a detailed agenda and share it – Everyone should have access to the meeting agenda before they step into the conversation. This process ensures that everyone knows what the topics will be about and how they need to prepare.
  • Set an end time – Meetings with no end times are a drain to productivity and collaboration. So, determine the approximate amount of time you will need for your discussions. The human attention span is short, so keep meetings to a manageable time, and if they do have to go over, plan another session for a separate day.
  • Have goals for the meeting itself – Your team can better appreciate this process and the role they play if they know what the takeaways will be. For example, if you are developing new sales goals for the year, tie this into the purpose of the meeting itself.

By taking these steps, you can help ensure your meetings are ones that employees can genuinely engage in for its entirety.

Use SMART Goals as a Tool for Your Goal-Setting

goalsGoal-setting can be an ambiguous process, but the less clear you are about how you figure out your goals, the less effective they will be. That’s why the SMART Goals framework is an excellent tool to use for creating your goals for the year. Management expert, Peter Drucker is credited for creating the criteria for SMART, and each word represents the following concepts:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Timebound

Whatever goals you are developing, run them through each of these terms. As a result, you will be able to establish benchmarks that are sharp and beneficial to your bottom line.

Set Times for Check-Ins

The more you plan out how you will check in on these goals, the easier it will be to meet them. So, at the beginning of the year and during your retreat or meeting, develop times to review progress. You may see the need to check in weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Determine which is right for you and set dates now. That way, your team knows the times they are working toward, and when they need to prepare reports for check-in discussions. It also adds a layer of accountability to the process. 

Final Thoughts

Goal-setting, especially within the first weeks of the new year, can feel overwhelming. You are adjusting to new strategies, and getting yourself ready for new projects ahead. However, preparing goals for the new year doesn’t have to be a daunting process. 

Be clear about the information you need from your team, set meetings far in advance to accommodate everyone’s schedule, optimize your time during your goal-setting sessions, use the SMART goals framework, and set times for follow-up throughout the month or quarter. Your goal is to get everyone on the same page, and these steps can get you on the path do doing just that.


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