Proactive Planning and Prep

This month we have discussed the various ways we plan for the end of the year, including general tidying and organization, finishing up projects and year-end goals, and reviewing what went wrong if any goals have not reached fruition. With two months left in the year, as we tie up all of these lose ends and prepare to close the door on 2017, it is time to look ahead and plan for the start of the new year. What can we do now to ensure that 2018 begins in an efficient and productive manner?

  • Review Internal Policies and Procedures – Both HR and Management can participate in this annual evaluation of what policies are outdated and need a refresh, and what procedures need some tweaking to match the culture and processes of the organization. Review the last year and determine what worked and what didn’t, and plan to collaborate on how to effectively renew and implement these processes.
  • Review HR-Related Documents and Systems – Predominantly the role of HR, similarly to how you would review internal policies and procedures, take a look at forms and documents and HR systems (e.g. leave administration and tracking, EEO tracking and reporting, vacation scheduling, etc.) and see what tweaks can be made to ensure everything is working as seamlessly and proficiently as possibly, both for the employee and for HR and management on the back end.
  • Review Operational Functions – A task that generally requires the buy in from management and possibly from your employees (such as receiving feedback from a focus group), review operational functions and performance to determine what, if anything, needs to be modified to make certain your clients and customers receive the best service possible, and that everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.
  • Prepare for Goal Setting – As we complete our goals from the past year, take a look ahead and honestly think about what you want to accomplish in 2018. With a fresh start and a chance to work with a clean slate, be proactive in your goal setting preparation and being brainstorming your personal and professional objectives and what you need to do to get there.

Taking a preemptive approach will help you have a strong game plan in place for a successful and productive new year. Especially if there were some areas where you faltered in the past, taking a long hard look at what you can change to do better will help ensure that you work in the most effective and efficient manner possible, resulting in victories that will benefit both you and your organization.

What Went Wrong?

This season, wrapping up end of year goals has many professionals scrambling to tie up loose ends and finish projects before 2017 comes to a close. While we all hope to succeed both at an individual level and for the overall success for our organization, sometimes we simply can’t reach that light at the end of the tunnel. At the end of the day, when we fail to finish what we set out to accomplish, all we can do is brush ourselves off and try again.

An important first step in bouncing back when a goal is not met, is taking the time to understand the underlying issues as to why you didn’t reach the end result. There are various reasons why we fail to meet our goals, including: a lack of commitment to the objective, stagnation or inactivity, failing to effectively plan out steps towards reaching the goal, and failing to manage tasks and time.

When we understand the “why” behind what went wrong, we can move forward and take this setback as a teachable moment and an opportunity to learn and grow. Some of the deeper issues to the above reasons why goals may fail can be a lack of loyalty to the company, a lack of motivation, and an absence of a true destination or purpose.

While all of these problems are separate matters all together, as they pertain to goal setting and failing to reach a goal, it is all a matter of changing your approach. Failure is simply a way of telling us that something is wrong. View failure as a type of feedback, take a step back from the situation and review that feedback objectively, and clear your mind for a second attempt at the endeavor.

Be brutally honest with yourself when you’re reviewing what went wrong the first time around. If you were simply lazy when it came to doing the work, why were you not engaged? Are your actions enough to reach the end goal and if not, what do you need to do differently?

Finally, don’t be ashamed to ask for help and seek guidance. Part of learning and growing is to not be afraid of failure and to truly want to do better in the future. Reach out to your supervisor, your coach or mentor, or a coworker or colleague who you can talk with to obtain constructive advice and guidance as to what you can do differently to thrive.

Typing up Loose Ends

With two and a half months left in the year, many of us are scrambling to finish projects and complete goals. There are a few steps you can take to ensure that all of your objectives reach fruition so you have a clean slate for the new year, ready to start fresh and with motivation and a new outlook:

  • Write a Task List – Create a very specific to-do list of what larger goals you have yet to accomplish and what smaller tasks you need to complete to reach that end objective. Breaking up your larger goals into sub duties will make the overall assignment seem less daunting.
  • Establish a Timeline – Time management is key when you are on a deadline. Be specific with your task list and apply a timeline for each task to ensure you finish on time. Check items off as you complete them, aiding in a feeling of accomplishment and further motivation.
  • Ask for Help – Even those who are incredibly efficient with their time can use an extra hand when their to-do list gets lengthy. Ask for help if you are worried about completing any projects and be willing to offer the same assistance when your team members required the same.

Once this year comes to a close, it is time for a whole new season of goal planning to begin. Use this past year of successes and obstacles as an opportunity to reflect on what you intended to accomplish with your goals and where you actually ended up, and apply these experiences and reflections to your goal planning for the new year. Have your goals and desires changed in the past year? What do you need to modify in your work duties and training to reach any new objectives you may have?

There is still more than enough time left in 2017 to tie up any loose ends and wrap up goals that have yet to be completed. With a clear outline of what needs done and when those tasks need to be completed by, you’ll stay motivated and engaged to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wrapping up the Year End

With crisp mornings and equally cool evenings, vibrant autumn shades being displayed in abundance, and everything flavored with pumpkin and spice, fall is officially here. The kiddos are back in school and many of us find ourselves back in our groove with work projects as lazy summer days are far behind us. With the year quickly coming to a close, it is a great opportunity to reflect back on past year and determine what your organization has yet to check off your end-of-year list and accomplish in this final quarter.

Human Resources

After reviewing your organization’s budget, determine if it is feasible to offer any incentives or bonuses at the end of the calender year (if this is a regular practice within your company). Take a look at staffing needs and ascertain any departments that require new positions or have any vacancies and create a recruiting plan to implement. Take a look at internal policies and procedures and proactively plan for anything that needs updated accordingly, including any projected changes to state and federal labor law.

General Organization

From a technological perspective, take advantage of the 4th quarter to back up your data and purge or archive anything that is no longer necessary. Go through files on your desktop, email folders, and client data and clean house. Backup contacts and download any large documents to an external hard drive or to a cloud sharing system. On the more tangible side, go through your desk and file cabinets and drawers and shred, scan, and electronically file any documents that you no longer need physical copies of. Organize your desk space and make it fresh and neat for the new year.

Business and Marketing

From a very basic level, take a look at your website and social media pages. Is your company presented in an accurate manner that best reflects the culture and services/products provided? Test hyperlinks and general navigation on your website to ensure that visitors are provided with the information they are searching for, and update as necessary. Are recent posts to social media relevant and receiving adequate likes/shares?

There are so many things we can check off our lists when planning for the end of the year, or the 4th quarter. In addition to HR, general business operations, and marketing other areas to review include accounting and payroll, strategic planning, and sales. This month we will discuss wrapping up this year’s goals and looking ahead to new objectives, review what may have gone wrong with this year’s projects that did not reach fruition and how to bounce back, and how to effectively plan for the new year.