Setting Your Goals For 2020

The new year—and the new decade—is almost upon us.

Did you accomplish your most important goals this past year…and in the last decade?

This issue isn’t about wishful resolutions, fuzzy dreams, or big hairy audacious goals. Who wants a BHAG anyways? Let’s use specific language to establish your 2020 goals that are meaningful to you, your family, and your business.

Here is a framework to structure your goals. Feel free to change any parts you want.

My 2020 gift for you: Send me your 2020 goals and we’ll have a half hour conversation and generate some ideas for you in 2020. We can talk about your business goals, personal goals, or both.

Business – Creating value for your clients and customers.

Strategy – this is about the quantifiable results and value that you provide to your customers and clients. Strategy is not about what you do or how you do it. It’s about the value you create for your customers. When you measure the value you create and can articulate it, you become much more valuable(!) to your customers. What are the quantifiable results you deliver? This is the foundation for developing a sustainable and differentiated competitive position in the eyes of your customers and in the market.

For example, I helped one company improve working capital by $16.7 million by accelerating total days to cash by one month. I helped another company go from the kitchen table to the boardroom table with an employee succession plan that helped to generate over $400 million of new revenues above the previous levels.

Measuring your impact is critical to your success.

Brand – how do you want your customers, prospects, peers, and the market to perceive your business in regards to: measurable value, quality, innovation, proactivity, speed, and importance?

Awareness – once you have your brand message clarified, to what extent do you want the market to be aware of your existence? Do you want to be known locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally?

Culture – Peter Drucker famously quoted that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” As a strategy specialist, I agree, because culture implements strategy, or it doesn’t. What kind of culture do you want? How will your culture support your brand and implement your strategy?

Performance – fortunately in business, most things are measurable. How will you measure—and improve—your performance? What are the critical areas you will focus on? How will you measure and communicate daily sales, production, and cash flow information? How will you measure progress on your important strategic initiatives?

Business Wealth – this is about your business valuation, which is significantly driven by your EBITDA. It’s also driven by your culture, your competitive position, your recurring (vs. one time) revenues, your contribution to your customers’ results, and how much energy, cash and freedom the business provides for it’s shareholders and owners.

Setting these business goals will help you achieve balance, prevent focusing on one thing (usually revenue) at the expense of the other goals, and will build your business wealth.

Personal – Achieving your potential.

Business isn’t just about ‘business;’ it’s personal. It’s people dealing with people. Most business owners I know and work with are worth more valuable than many million dollar athletes and entertainers. Their impact is much more important to their family, employees, customers, and local economy than anyone on television (or your smart phone, except your spouse and family). So let’s get personal.

Health – my grandmother “Babi” rode her three-wheeled bike at age 93 around Dauphin, Manitoba where I grew up. She lived to be 102 and wisely told me, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Meaning, she needed to take care of herself. She was one tough lady. She grew a huge garden. She had a heart attack and then rode her bike three blocks to the hospital. After she recuperated, she was back in her garden. How is your health? How is your waist circumference (a critical, and I mean critical metric)? Are you performing at your peak?

Family – How are you prioritizing time with your family? I’m fortunate that my business expansion plans to Toronto allow me to spend more time with my daughter in Toronto. That gave me the idea of different ways to spend more time with our daughter still living at home, at least for a few more months before she leaves the nest. We are also celebrating 25 years of marriage this year. That time flew by. Marriages take commitment and work. All important relationships do. How are you honoring your relationship with your spouse or those people most important to you?

Personal Development – What do you do to energize and recharge yourself on a regular basis: physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually? What are your hobbies? How are you using and enhancing your unique talents and skills?

Have you learned everything you need to know about your business (and life)? Or are you open to continual learning, new experiences, and personal growth?

Most CEOs I know are voracious readers and learners. I’ve even advised some of them to stop reading and start writing. One created three books in one year. (Congrats, Gary!) How are you converting your wisdom and experience into something tangible that others can learn and benefit from so you’re helping others beyond your time and personal interactions?

Legacy – I follow Stoicism and they believe that we could leave this life any day. Stoics focus on today, on what they can control (including their emotions, focus, and productivity), and what actions they take to achieve what’s important to them.

What’s important to you? What impact do you want to have on those you care about? How will you make their lives better in the next year and in the next decade?

You create your legacy every day. What legacy are you creating?

Setting personal goals—and putting time in your calendar each week to pursue them—will help you to have a fulfilling and rewarding life.

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