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January 22, 2003
10 Ways To Turn Your 2003 Goals Into Success

Notice how crowded it is at the gym these January weeks? But as gym rats know, come March attendance will fall back to normal. How can you make sure your resolutions for 2003 are more than memories in March? How can you increase your odds of actually achieving your business objectives and personal goals for 2003?

For 15 years I've coached agency teams to be high-performance teams and coached more than 100 presidents, CEOs and partners. I know all the tricks people use to forget, hide from, ignore, sabotage, blame others for and fail at their goals. I also know what others do to ensure their success. Here are 10 coaching tips for you to try - let me know how they work for you!

1. Complete 2002

The first mistake people make is to drag last year with them into 2003. That's like climbing a mountain with a mountain on your back - no wonder no one can get enthusiastic about this year's new business objectives.

Instead, meet with your team (or yourself) and write down your answers to these questions. List your answers on a flip chart or pad so all can see:

  • What did we accomplish in 2002? List everyone's answers.
  • What didn't we accomplish that we promised or expected to accomplish?(Don't discuss or defend, just list the items.)
  • What do we need to say in order to be complete (at peace; resolved) with what was and wasn't accomplished?
  • Given all the above, what do we see possible for 2003?


2. Don't mess with your word

Goals and objectives are promises. You're putting your word on the line here. So whether you, your boss, your client or your spouse initiated the goal, you need to make it yours. Choose it. Own it. Commit 100% to the game of going for it. (If you can't or won't, tell the truth and drop the goal now.) Only by freely choosing the goal now can you avoid being a victim of it later when the going gets rough - which it inevitably will!

3. Hang 'em high

Set stretch goals. Otherwise there's no challenge; no need to reinvent your way of doing things.

Picture this continuum for goals: Predictable. Farther out, Possible. Furthest out, Pipedream. Predictable is boring. Pipedream is impossible. Pull yours from the Possible realm and go for it. Better to achieve 60% of a big risky goal than 100% of a been-there / done-that goal.

4. Write it down

Put your goals in writing. Keep it simple: 1 - 6 major goals. (If you have more than six it turns into a wish list. And wishing will not make it so!) Keep this list in your face. On your bulletin board. As a screen saver. In the front of your daily planner. In a separate binder you refer to weekly.

5. Make it measurable

"Profit" is not a goal. "Increase our profits" is a goal, but a weak one. (You succeed if you increase profits by one penny - is that your intention?) "Increase our profits to 14.5% before taxes in calendar year 2003" is a much stronger goal because it is specific and measurable. Even better, also calculate your measures for progress stages throughout the year; then track them.

Most people (and teams) keep their goals and progress foggy. We avoid specifics to avoid accountability. But with specifics and accountability comes more action and greater odds of success. Your choice.

6. Make it your middle name

This week I asked a client "What is your revenue goal for the brand for 2003?" His response was "I don't have that piece of paper in front of me right now." Would you bet on his success?

Make your goal your middle name - that easy to remember. If you can't, then you're getting foggy again. See if it needs to be bolder (big ones keep you awake!), fewer, simpler or more clearly measurable.

7. Don't confuse having with doing

Buying a gym membership isn't going to make those pounds drop - only sweating through a step class will. Signing up for tango lessons won't rekindle the romance in your marriage - but conquering the beginner steps together might. Don't confuse having the goods with taking the action and getting the results. Yes, that confusion helps fuel our consumer economy and our marketing industry - but don't let it rob you of success in 2003.

8. Box yourself in

One of my business goals for 2003 is to sign at least three contracts for a specific dollar amount, which is 300% greater than our largest contract in 2002. To box myself in, to give me no alternative but success, I have "gone public" with this goal, otherwise I will go unconscious about it. The steps I have taken to box myself in include: 1) going public by developing the goal with the ECG team; 2) putting myself in the hands of a tough coach who knows the distinctions of winning business at that altitude; and 3) telling you! Now I have nowhere to hide, thank goodness.

9. Create a team

If it's a goal big enough to be worth doing, you won't be able to achieve it on your own. Enroll a team. The role of one team member might be support and morale. Another might be to coach and advise. Or provide information or networking. Or to take on large roles in the project. Just don't go it alone. If you want to increase your odds for success, create a team.

10. Schedule Action Step # 1 -- and take it

For each goal identify the first action step that will get it underway. Who / what / by when. The first step is usually pretty small, often a simple request. (Achievement is made up of a series of thousands of small and big requests.) For example, if the goal is to have a finished manuscript and a publisher's commitment by 12/31/03, the first step will not be "Write book." It might be to "Ask so-and-so who her agent is" or to "Outline Chapter 1."

Determine specifically what the first specific measurable step is and then schedule a time to do it. Actually take out your calendar or appointment book and schedule the time period in which you will take that action - with all the commitment you would bring to it as if it were a meeting with a client. For example: In the time slot for 9 a.m to 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday Feb. 18 write in: "Call Barbara and find out who her agent is." When that time comes around do exactly as you said.

Repeat for Action Step # 2 through 10,002!

Follow these 10 Coaching Tips and you are likely to achieve your goals for 2003 - and to be unstoppable in life! Good luck!

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Even ad industry bigwigs can benefit from some coaching, and that's where Trisha Scudder comes in. Described as “part princess; part pitbull,” she founded Executive Coaching Group in 1987 to bring executive coaching and teamwork training to the advertising and marketing industry. She knows coaching, plus she's also been in the game: a former copywriter, creative director, and the person behind the launch of Swatch.

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