From the Desk of the Training Director – February 7, 2012

One down.  Eleven to Go.

Evan Abbott, Organizational Learning and Development\

One down and eleven to go.  Months left in 2012 that is.  Hey!  No need to throw stuff!  Just reporting a fact.  And, if you are like most Americans, most of those bold and ambitious New Year’s Resolution that were made only a month ago have been abandoned or neglected.  And in the world of work, this also includes those fun Business Plans many of us set for the new year.  Now, I could spend this week’s column summarizing the “reasons” (e.g. excuses) we make (and I do mean we . . . I have my own NYRs that that need a little attention) for why our best intentions have not turned into fruitful actions.  However, I won’t.  What I will do is offer some things to consider in order to make 2012 your best year yet.

Acknowledge the successes:  Take a page from the world of Organizational Development and practice a bit of Appreciative Inquiry.  In this change facilitation technique best practices of the past are used to facilitate change for the future.  Look at projects and goals you have been successful at in the past.  What steps did you take that allowed those to happen?  How might you replicate those steps for your 2012 goals that have gotten off track?
Take an inventory of your resources:  One reason goals fail is because we don’t recognize all of the resources at our disposal.  Feeling like you have too much on your plate?  Try tapping into that employee who is looking for more challenge.  Too many projects?  Talk about the projects with colleagues.  Maybe there is a similar project happening in another part of the organization.  This could be an opportunity to practice some cross-departmental collaboration.
Identify barriers:  At this point a few of us have been demonstrating the “head in the sand” approach to managing the obstacles in our way.  If I just ignore them, maybe they’ll go away.  Odds are, they won’t.  An honest assessment of these challenges (staffing, time, skill sets, motivation) will assist in not only tracking down additional resources, but will also allow for more honesty when . . .
Reevaluate those goals:  Some of us get over ambitious in our goal setting.  Talk to 30 clients this month.  Lose 40 pounds by March.  Increase revenue back to 2007 levels by April.  Practice some “realistic optimism.”  If the goal train has come off the tracks due to a lack of realism, rather than beating yourself up for not achieving the goal, try reassessing the goal and setting a new one.
The good news is that there are still eleven months left in the year!  Lots of time to reevaluate our goals, learn additional skills, and put a revised plan in place.