How often, when you ask someone what they want, they proceed to tell you what they don’t want. I have been noticing this response more and more recently. Knowing what you want professionally and personally is essential, no matter whether you are a small business, a major corporation or a manager of a small team.
Imagine you stepped into a cab and the driver asked you where you wanted to go. Would you reply, I don’t know, you choose? Of course you would not. So why do so many people adopt this approach to area like business, career, relationships, health, fitness and personal growth. Setting a clear direction has a number of benefits:
• Gets you connected to your bigger vision of what you want to achieve and the impact that you want to have
• Acts as a reference point to support your decision making on a day to day basis. Simply asking yourself the question, is this moving me closer to or further away from what I want will help you to target your energies
• Keeps you motivated when times are tough
So how can you start the process of setting a clear direction?
Establish Where You Are Now
Finding out where you are now is a vital first step. You need to consider questions like:
• What’s working?
• What’s not working?
• What’s motivating?
• What’s de-motivating?
• What strategies are you deploying?
• Where are your strategies taking you?
This process can be done for you as an individual, as a team or even for a business as a whole.
Where Would You Like To Be?
Once you have got some clarity on where you are right now and the direction it is taking you in, you can start to create a vision of where you would like to be. In creating a vision, some of the common problems we run into include:
• Aiming too low and not making it compelling enough
• Overly worrying about how we are going to do it
• Producing something that is out of line with our values
When starting on your vision, it is worth thinking about:
• What you want to create
• Why you want to create it
• What it will give you when you have achieved or partly achieved it
• How you will feel if you don’t start or don’t achieve
In our vision, it is all too easy to focus on things like:
• Financial benefits
• Materialistic things
While these are important, don’t forget about things like lifestyle. For example, do you want lots of money and a life that consists of 80 hours a week of work, 56 for sleep and 34 for everything else? There is no right or wrong, but consciously choosing is incredibly powerful.
The tactics are those things that you will do to make your vision a reality. In a business context they might include things like:
• Training and developing staff
• Raising finance
• Developing technology
In a career context it might be things like:
• Taking a secondment, maybe overseas
• Working on developing a particular skill or attribute
• Self appraisal and feedback from others
• Researching related roles or even completely different roles
Choosing tactics gets you into action and action gets results.
Monitor and Adjust
Even when you have established where you are, where you want to get to and chosen your tactics, chances are that things will not always go quite as you expected. It is essential that you have a mechanism for:
• Monitoring your progress
• Adjusting and taking corrective action
At the end of the day, setting direction and achieving results is a relatively simple process. The question is are you ready to make it happen?
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.