I set a personal goal for myself at the beginning of 2011 that this year I would purchase a Honda CRV. I’m thrilled to report that I bought a 2011 red CRV last weekend. This was the culmination of a year of researching and shopping for j ust the right deal. For some of you this may not be a big deal, but my old car was eleven years old and the car before that was ten years old when I decided it was time to move on. As you can see, I drive my cars for a long time so this was a big buying decision for me. I stayed connected to my goal all year. I have a list of my goals that I keep for myself, both business and personal and I carry them with me as a reminder. Goal setting always starts with me taking stock of what I learned during the prior year…successes and failures. As I look back on 2011 there are so many lessons I have learned. Here are some of the ones at the top of my list that I want to remember as I move into the future. Transparency requires courage. I learned about moving to a new level of transparency in both my personal and business relationships. I shared in a prior blog that I have a sixteen-year-old and he has taught me this year that honesty comes with a price. Sometimes I had to hear things that I might not have wanted to hear, but in the end I believe it has created a more connected relationship. At work, that translated to being more direct with my clients about our needs and creating more balanced, reciprocal client relationships. I also noticed that when I’m working with a group, I’m less attached to how I am perceived and more attached to the impact I’m having. The outcome is that I can have a bigger impact and create greater depth in relationships and outcomes. Empowerment = no victims allowed. In my personal and business life I resemble my name-sake and am “busy as a bee” 99.9% of the time. I can plow through a lot and I often feel like it is my responsibility to keep the fires burning. I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes I feel sorry for myself that I don’t get enough “me” time. This year I have made a conscious effort to step back and let others step in. I still have room for improvement, but I am proud that I am setting stronger boundaries and asking for help more often. How this translates at work, is that I have created several workshops that focus on how to recognize victimhood and what that costs us in organizations. Blaming and criticizing others is another way to give away your power. Teaching others how to identify what they control and what they can influence and how to action plan is like handing them the keys to success. Good stuff! Consistent process pays dividends. In a small business you wear many hats and it can be challenging to find the right balance between operations, sales/marketing, research & development and client work. One of my goals this year was to have a consistent lead generation process. I have been diligent about getting our system and process worked out. I decided to bring lead generation in-house so that we could maximize our CRM system capabilities. This meant hiring a part-time business development, lead generator. This has been a hard position to sustain, in part because many people take a part time job while looking for full-time employment. I am now working with my fifth person. It has been frustrating at times to have to stop and restart the training process for a variety of reasons. But each of these individuals taught me some important lessons, one of those is that I am more dedicated than ever to having a process that is well defined, documented, and easy to communicate. Persistent belief in what we do. There have been times over the last four years when I was afraid my business would not survive the economic upheaval. This past year has been a good year for my company. When I look back there are several reasons we have made it when others did not. The one that has made the biggest difference for us is that we believe that the work we are doing is sorely needed and we have the goods to do it well. I know without reservation that I make a meaningful difference in the lives of the customers I am privileged to work with. I know we have an impact and this past year we got better at measuring the return so our customers can quantify that difference. Learn new things. We have worked at being open and nimble at how we do things this year. I’m very proud of the headway we are making in the social media arena. We had been on twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn but we weren’t intentional about how we were using those important tools. This year we developed an approach to execute social media in a consistent and strategic way. We are still working on improving our effectiveness but we are consistently using our process. As a result I am renewing connections with old colleagues and clients at an incredible rate. I am discovering that using our new approach keeps me at the forefront of information I need for research and creative endeavors. It’s a new day and I am thrilled to step into all that is possible. Next week, in part two of this series I will explore key business considerations (read about key considerations in this newsletters article) as I move toward using both my key learnings and business considerations to springboard my goals for 2012.
If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.