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Posts Tagged ‘goals’

I learn therefore I am…

Some weeks pass fairly routinely. Some weeks are full of LEARNING. Learning can be painful. Literally. Last week was a week of learning for me. Here’s what I learnt –

On Monday I learnt that just because I’m up early and wanting to start my week productively, it does not automatically follow that the tween off-spring are similarly motivated. I also learnt that I probably do too much for them!

On Tuesday I re-learned the value of spending time with like-minded colleagues. I travelled between Hamilton and Auckland with Richard Francis from Bruntwood Consulting, a colleague I often conduct strategic thinking and planning seminars with. Great to expand ideas, and share concepts with someone on the same page!

On Wednesday I learnt how good it feels to achieve goals even if they are past your desired deadlines. I finally finished a project that has gone on for months longer than I had wanted it to. I also reached one of my personal 2013 goals- finally!

Thursday was a day of massive learning. On Thursday I learnt several things in the space of about 1 – 2 seconds. Firstly, I learnt that steam burns – really burns. Secondly I learnt not to reach over the top of a boiling kettle even if you are about to drop the lid of a canister. Thirdly I learnt that all the cold water in the world won’t stop blistered skin from hurting. And over the next few days I learnt how to dress and change bandages on burnt skin. Youch! Won’t do that again.

On Thursday I also remembered the value of networking and how business people are great company, when I attended the Waikato Networking Group monthly café meeting (that was before I burnt myself). I learnt at that meeting about two local businesses that will really help me and some of my clients. I hope some others learnt a bit more about what I do.

On Friday I re-learnt how important it is to have adaptable presentation styles when I spoke in quick succession to a group of blue collar workers, some of whom are illiterate, and then a group of professionals. Same topic, very different ways of communicating required.  I also learnt that when you have a painful injury, kids, mortgages and a business to run, Valentine’s Day can pass you by.  Luckily I also re-learnt how romantic my hubby is – a lovely red rose and ‘marriage joke book’.  I particularly like the joke that ‘A married woman spends most of her time dealing with problems she wouldn’t have had if she wasn’t married.’  I’m sure that wasn’t his favourite!

On Saturday, I learnt again that being in business is not a Monday – Friday 9 – 5 job. I also remembered how fortunate I am to be in a business where I can really help other businesses, and have the personal flexibility of working times that I enjoy!

On Sunday I remembered what a beautiful country New Zealand is when I arrived in Taupo to work for the next three days. The Lake looked gorgeous in the fading sun with three swans catching supper, right outside my hotel window.

Have a good week and hope you learn something!

Find out more about Jenni at http://www.strategies-direct.com

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Categories: Coaching, Humour, Leadership

What are the possibilities?

School holidays are nearly over and I’m looking forward to focusing on my clients and future clients.  My goal this year is to help as many people as possible to see the possibilities – ie think strategically!

Without the motivation and ability to think about opportunities, risks and possible consequences of elements outside our own control, it is impossible to prepare your business (or career) adequately for the future.  Experience tells me that many people process information as discrete data, unrelated to other information.  I sometimes wonder if this is because of the way we chunk topics through school and university – learning about each in its own silo and not necessarily thinking about how that topic is part of a whole, influencing and being influenced by all the other topics being studied in other departments.  This discrete way of viewing information inhibits managers and professionals from engaging in systems and strategic thinking, needed for preparing and planning ahead.

I have some favorite methods of increasing your capacity to think more strategically.  Here’s three of them:

  • When you read or hear news items, ask yourself how this could impact on you or your business, on your suppliers and on your clients.  Think through 2 – 3 levels of impact.  For instance, in my daily today, there was an article about how my city’s river might have to supply water to a larger city.   I wondered how it will affect manufacturing, farming and other local businesses dependent on water supply (my level 1 thinking).  And if they are affected, how might that flow on to my clients (service firms) – my level 2.  Level 3 would be the impact on my business.  I also wondered what benefits my city might gain from this – what would we want in return?  I thought about how that would affect everyone here in our typical ‘drought’ months, when we already have restricted water use. These are just some of the many aspects that I could relate to this topic.  But you get the idea.
  • Deliberately access a wide variety of information.  Read about topics unrelated to your normal reading.  Ask yourself how you can use the ideas in the articles in your own business, and how trends in these other areas could affect you or your clients.  It’s easy to access a wide variety of topics on-line, and off-line the magazines in cafes, doctors and dentists waiting rooms are good ways to extend your exposure to new ideas.
  • Mix and mingle with professionals and specialists in areas other than your own.  A scary idea, I know, but you’ll be amazed at their different world view, and also their predictions for the near future.  Just as you know lots about your area or industry, they know what’s happening in theirs.  And what happens in one place, sooner or later impacts in others.

In business, thinking about a range of scenarios and preparing for new risks and opportunities always beats out being forced to respond with no forewarning or preparation.  You can’t predict everything, but you can be regularly thinking about possible impacts and be ready to respond to change, whatever that change may turn out to be.

Categories: Business and Strategy

Are we having fun yet?

While ‘beliebers’ fret over the fate of their idol, the rest of us have more strategic matters to consider as we head to the last week of the first month of 2014.  Things like:

  • It’s election year (in New Zealand).  How active is your business in relevant associations that could influence legislation?  And should you be, or not?  (This actually applies even if it’s not election year where you are).
  • How do you think the economy is going to trend this year in countries that impact your business?  Here in New Zealand commentators are saying we have a ‘Rockstar’ economy, but what does that mean for you?  And why is unemployment remaining high, with more layoffs still occurring?  How could that affect you if you need to recruit?
  • Now that the holidays are pretty much over, have you clarified your goals for this year, or have you fallen into the New Year resolution trap, and already lost your way on your key priorities? (It’s not too late – get to and set them now, with actionable steps).
  • What are your clients’ priorities this year?  Do you know?  How can you help them achieve their goals?

Finally, arTurn new year resolutions into actionable stepse we having fun yet???  If you’re not loving your business or career, and we are only in January, it’s time to review.  Make 2014 the year you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and keep making a difference!

Jenni Murphy-Scanlon is the owner of Strategies Direct, and loves helping her clients find fame, fortune and future-fit in their chosen markets.  She offers you a free report ‘How to think strategically’ at http://www.strategies-direct.com

4 reasons NOT to make New Year Resolutions

I’m not sure who came up with the idea of New Year Resolutions.  I suppose it’s logical that a new year feels like a new start, so it seems a good time to set some new goals.  The problem is, they seem to be rarely successful.  Here’s why – and why if you haven’t made any this year, you shouldn’t feel guilty:

  1. They are often made in haste.  It’s often on New Year’s night in a party atmosphere, or at least a time of reminiscence, that people suddenly hit on a resolution.  If there’s been no real thought about it, and particularly how it’s going to be achieved, you’re unlikely to stick to it, or really make it happen.  It’s more like a wish you make when you blow out the birthday cake candles – if you’re really lucky it might come true without you having to do anything!  Hmmm…
  2. They are often made under the influence of alcohol or other dubious circumstances.  See above!
  3. The basis for making them is often regret, or at least some sense of dissatisfaction eg “I am overweight so this year I will lose weight”, “Last year I didn’t connect with many friends so this year I am going to be more social”.  This basis of setting goals fails to assess what your real priorities need to be and the reasons why you are not doing those things.  Without some positive vision of what you want going forward, you are unlikely to make the necessary changes.
  4. Resolutions usually stop at a vague statement, like “I will lose weight this year.”  Rarely do people apply the good old “SMART” formula that helps ensure the goal is able to be achieved.  Nor do they develop an implementation plan and a method of keeping themselves accountable for achieving it.

So if New Year resolutions are not a great way to set goals, what is?  Well perhaps a new year is a good time to sit down and do some strategic thinking.  You could ask yourself the following types of questions:

What might your world look like in five years time?

What will have changed and how?

What do you want your future to look like?

Where do you want to be at the start of 2018 – in business/career, personal life, health, financial, lifestyle and so on.

Based on that, where do you need to be next new year ie the start of 2014?

What’s the gap between now and then?

What do you need to take account of, that is likely to happen and be outside of your control?

So what then should your goals be for this year?

How will you achieve them – step by step?

What other information or resources do you need to achieve them?

How will you know if you are on track?

How will you keep your goals top of mind as you go about your daily routines?

These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself and then find answers to, to make successful goals.  But they don’t have to happen at 1 January!  Personally I take most of January to work through this process for my life and business.  Some of my clients prefer to do this at the end of the calendar year in preparation for the next year.  And for some of my clients, it makes more sense for them to do this at the start of their financial year, rather than the calendar year.  You might also choose your birthday month or some other significant time to prepare some annual goals.

So if you didn’t make New Year resolutions, no need to feel you missed out.  And if you did, it’s time to finish the process by answering all these questions and tying down your goals!

 

Jenni Murphy-Scanlon is an author, consultant and trainer specializing in strategic thinking and leadership. She offers you a free report on ‘How to Think Strategically’ at her website – http://www.strategies-direct.com

How to achieve your long term goals – according to the cat!

I met a friend for coffee the other week and she told me an amazing, funny story. When her children were teenagers their neighbours got a cat. The cat took a liking to my friend’s daughter, but even more, to their house. Now unfortunately for Puss, my friend did not like cats so had no intention of letting the cat into her house.

The cat tried really hard to get in. He even attempted a drop-in from the skylight above, but all to no avail. My friend was not letting the cat in, no matter how much he wanted to be in. A few years on, my friend’s daughter got married and moved to the other side of town. The neighbours asked if she would like to take their cat, given he was clearly fond of her and she of him. She agreed and Puss moved to her new home. But a few months later, my friend decided to move and sold her house to her daughter and her new husband. So guess who finally got to move into the house? – yes, the cat!

The moral of the story is this. You never quite know how things are going to unfold, so that your goals are achieved. Sometimes you have to be persistent. Sometimes you have to wait a while. Sometimes it seems quite hopeless and you seem further away from your goal than ever. But hang in there – keep focused on important goals and don’t give up. Sometimes things work in very roundabout ways and suddenly – your goal is achieved!

Jenni Murphy-Scanlon is an author, consultant and trainer specialising in strategic thinking and leadership. She offers you a free report on ‘How to Think Strategically’ at her website – http://www.strategies-direct.com

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