Around this time of the year, I am usually focused on getting everything done ahead of the holidays. Most companies operate on a calendar year basis, and it was no different at Intel. This was the last chance to get a few more things done before calling it quits for the year. What I often didn’t do is make plans for the upcoming year. As I returned to work at the start of January, it was easy to get swept away by whatever was going on. My plans for the year unfolded as the year progressed.
Making Plans for Me
In essence I was reacting to whatever came my way. Instead of making plans for myself, I was responding to whatever the people around me wanted. That could be my boss, my stakeholders and/or my peers. Don’t get me wrong, I did pretty well but I wonder if I could have done much better by focusing on my key priorities first.
As you head towards the end of the year, I recommend setting aside some time to sketch out no more than three main goals for the coming year. Why are these goals the most important things you’ll do? How will you know when you have achieved them? It is easy to write goals that are activities. For example, I will get better at XYZ. How much better will you get and why?
Once you have your goals, ask yourself what will have to happen to achieve them. This is especially effective if your goals seem too much of a stretch. Rather than thinking ‘I couldn’t possibly do that’, think about what would have to happen. Break these things down into small steps and think about what has to happen to achieve each one.
A Helpful Structure
The GOST model provides a terrific structure to help you set out your goals and strategies (how you will achieve them). Here’s a link to an earlier post about it along with a GOST template.
I am already feeling inspired to create my own GOST plan for the coming year!