Every year, January 1st comes with the desire for a fresh start. But this year is definitely different. After what many would say was the worst year of their lives, we waked up on New Year’s Day with not just a longing but a need to see the good and possibilities that 2021 may bring. This article explores six tips on planning and achieving your 2021 goals for your interior design business.
Too often, we set goals in a vacuum, and then by the end of the year, we are frustrated with what we did not accomplish. There is much debate about whether goals work, but I believe there is something to creating your goals, revisiting them often, and sharing them with your team.
Why Planning 2021 Expectations Is Critical
No one could have predicted what happened in 2020, and to be perfectly honest, I am ready to move on. I see the future to be full of hope and opportunities. The truth is, we don’t really have a choice. To wallow in the past is a waste of time. Yes, we can learn from past mistakes and successes, but to dwell on what could have or should have is a waste of time.
When we face something unbelievably dramatic and filled with so much grief and uncertainty, setting goals can help us refocus on what is truly important. It is interesting how something life-shattering can help us refocus and see through the mud for a clear perspective.
Having a clear path in the coming months will provide you with some relief. It gives you something positive to focus your efforts on. When you find yourself going down a rabbit hole, you can more quickly refocus and get back to the essential tasks.
Planning The Right Goals Starts with Your Customers
In creating my 2021 business goals, I started with a simple question. “How can I help those I serve?” When you break it down to the simplest denominator, it becomes a bit clearer. Am I setting my expectations and goals around my target audience?
My ultimate goal for GAI is to provide valuable content that helps interior designers grow professionally. It is that simple. At some point, we need to look beyond revenue and unnecessary statistics and really focus on what matters. That isn’t to say that your goals shouldn’t be measurable or include a time, but it is to say that by focusing on what is essential, the other stuff will fall into place.
If you serve your customer to the best you can, eventually, revenue will increase. If you treat your employees with respect and provide a positive work environment, the loyalty and hard work they deliver will come as well. When we set out planning 2021 by focusing on our customers, employees, and self-fulfillment, our expectations become sharper.
So, with all that said, how do we get from point A to point B. Here are 6 tips I have to help you meet your 2021 expectations.
6 Tips to Accomplishing your 2021 Expectations
Tip 1: Simplify your goals.
When I worked in big corporations, every year, we would get these lofty goals from the executives. I promise you that someone higher up sat around, thinking of how to pack as many big words, industry jargon, and useless measurements into one or two sentences to make their bosses feel better about the goals. The reality was that the goals made no sense. There is no purpose in creating goals that make you or someone else feel smarter. Simplifying your goals so that everyone on your team not only understands but can support your business without having to pull out a dictionary.
Tip 2: Involve your team in the why and how.
The best way to get other people’s buy-in is to give them ownership. The best way to do that is by asking for their input. If you haven’t noticed, most of your employees have an opinion. They may also have some great ideas. An open dialog with your team that includes their input on the planned goals and ways to accomplish them will motivate employees to achieve the goals.
Also, be aware of those employees that don’t seem to be giving input or adding to the conversation. It is an excellent way to identify those employees who aren’t engaged and maybe thinking of leaving your firm. By identifying them now, you may find an opportunity later to re-engage them and provide needed career support.
Tip 3: Revisit, measure, and report progress.
Making goals top of mind by revisiting, measuring, and reporting progress every month will increase the likely hood of success. So often, we set goals and never think about them again. Every project, client interaction, and effort should tie back into the goals.
If your goal is to improve customer experience and have identified several ways to do so in the day-to-day, then start measuring the progress regularly to see if the needle is moving. Another goal might be to increase your website traffic by increasing daily social media posts and interactions. Take the time to gather data to determine if the efforts being put forth are making a difference. It might seem like just more work, but in measuring your progress, you will begin to see what is working and what isn’t. When you determine what works, you stop wasting time on what doesn’t work.
Don’t be afraid to gather input and share the results with your employees. Even if it is wrong, it is a learning opportunity for you and your employees. Revisiting, measuring, and reporting make you and your team accountable and keeps the goals on top of mind.
Tip 4: Lay no blame for missed opportunities.
Missing an incredible opportunity sucks; whether it is a new client or a big project, it never feels good when you don’t win. It is one thing to revisit a missed opportunity or misstep to find how you can do better in the future.
It is a whole other issue if you find you’re saying things like “Only if…” or even “Why did you…” Laying blaming on your employees is the best way to demotivate people. Blaming yourself is not good either. We all miss opportunities, and we all make missteps. Whether it is yourself or an employee, it is time for us to give ourselves a little grace and be okay with not being perfect.
Tip 5: Make goals a part of the conversation.
Each employee should have a set of goals for 2021 that will tie into the overall company goals and self-development. It is your job to help each employee meet those goals. Yes, the employee does need to take responsibility for their own goals; however, as a leader, it is your purpose to help them find their way.
As you meet with individual employees periodically through the year, go through their personal goals and ask how you can help, how they are feeling, and their progress. It isn’t fair to expect results at the end of the year if you didn’t take the time to help throughout the year. In a past blog post, I cover the importance of ongoing feedback.
Tip 6: Re-evaluate and readjust.
Remember the poster with the cat dangling from the tree branch and the headline read “Sh*t Happens.” Unfortunately, many of us have found ourselves in that cat’s position. Dangling from a branch, wondering how we are going to get out of the mess. When planning expectations for 2021, you have to recognize that not everything will go as planned. It is imperative to understand that and be flexible to re-evaluate and move with the challenges. Just because you set goals in January, it doesn’t mean in July, your hands are tied. It is good practice to re-evaluate and make adjustments every quarter.
My last tip is to believe in yourself and your team. Do everything in your power to move forward, and the future will get brighter.
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