This time of year, many people's thoughts turn to taking stock – seeing how things went this past year, and how things need to be different next year. I have used a process in both work and personal items, based on concepts in the book, Today Matters, by leadership consultant and author John C. Maxwell. Dr. Maxwell's book deals with personal growth and success, and the concepts apply equally to a business environment.
What is "personal success"? Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, "Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." Defining success as "peace of mind" allows every person to have a unique definition of success. Dr. Maxwell suggests the following framework of 12 life areas to help define success:
Making progress toward becoming your best is, according to Dr. Maxwell, a function of both good decisions and daily discipline.
Good decisions are achieved by:
- Identifying specific goals in the 12 areas that will define what "success" means to you.
- Evaluating your current status in each of these areas.
- Sharing your goals and self-evaluation with a friend or accountability partner, and asking for – and then really listening to – their feedback.
Daily discipline helps you make steady progress through:
- Picking three areas – two areas of strength and one area of weakness – to work on for 60 days.
- Re-evaluating your progress in the 3 chosen areas. If you have achieved significant progress in an area, move on – otherwise, stay with it for another 60 days.
- Repeating this cycle until you have all 12 areas under your belt.
Success as "peace of mind" also applies to an organization and to the persons entrusted with its leadership. One useful framework for an organization is a balanced scorecard, a series of interrelated goals tailored to each organization's mission. Typically, measures are identified and organized in the areas of:
- Financial Results
- Customer Satisfaction
- Process Performance
- Employee Learning & Growth
Goal setting begins by:
- Deciding on measures and goals that reflect "success" in your chosen framework. An example measure and related goal may be "Make 50 sales calls on qualified prospects per month."
- Evaluating your current state against your identified goals, by calculating your current baseline performance measures – for example, your business may currently be averaging 42 sales calls per month.
- Sharing your goals and self-evaluation with a trusted business adviser – this could be your CPA, banker, attorney, consultant, executive coach, or someone else whom you trust to give you unvarnished feedback.
Goal achievement proceeds by:
- Selecting three areas – two areas of strength and one area of weakness – to work on for 60 days. Measure results monthly.
- Re-evaluating progress in your chosen areas.
- Repeating this cycle until all key goals have been achieved.
In December 2005, I took stock of my business and decided to focus on two major goals in 2006. I am pleased that there has been significant progress on both these goals. Not only have desired improvements occurred in the business, but my peace of mind – always important to any owner, executive, or manager – has dramatically improved.
As you take stock in your business and personal life, remember that making good decisions about your goals and practicing the daily discipline to achieve them helps bring peace of mind – the ultimate definition of success.
Our client projects begin with someone taking stock of their business situation, and deciding improvement is necessary. We frequently help our clients take stock and identify priority areas, and we invite other companies to contact us to do the same.
Todd L. Herman
Client Project Update:
I am pleased to provide you with an update on our client projects. Projects we have completed over this period are...
Revenue Enhancement Through Data Analysis
Analyzed the address records of several municipalities against those of utility companies providing services to identify additional franchise tax due, resulting in greater revenue for the municipality.
Rolling out FRx Forecaster
Built, tested, reconciled, and deployed an FRx Forecaster financial statement budgeting application for a multi-entity health care company having multiple year-ends, enabling efficient and accurate budgeting in a complex environment.
Data Integration Techniques
Converted and optimized Data Transformation Service (DTS) packages to SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) packages in connection with upgrading to SQL Server 2005, enabling quicker and more efficient data integration.
System Enhancement Cutover and Issue Management
Managed the system cutover and began to address post-implementation issues on a systems enhancement project for this construction-related company, working with client and vendor personnel to assess priorities of issues, identify short-term workarounds, and define the necessary software fixes.
Automating Data Reporting
Automated manual data summarization and reporting procedures, freeing time of key personnel to address value-added business issues.
Improving Spreadsheet Productivity
Trained the financial personnel of this university on advanced spreadsheet techniques, improving the efficiency of preparing analyses through enhanced integrity and reusability.
Future projects we are planning include...
Complete the development and rollout of this application - ntegrating an industry-specific business system and a financial accounting system for this insurance company -providing accounting integrity and enhancing management analysis.
Assessing System Needs
Assess the systems needs for this fast-growing provider of education services and products, defining requirements related to base functionality and bringing outsourced functions in-house while identifying candidate software packages to meet these requirements.
Mobilizing Service Processes
Identify areas where mobile technologies can improve the quoting and scheduling processes of this automotive repair services provider, reducing both cycle time and processing time.
Integrating Inventory & Financial Information
Define and develop the integrating software for an automotive-specific business system and a financial accounting system for this motorcycle dealership, eliminating repetitive data entry and improving accuracy and timeliness of inventory information.
Provide application development support for the JD Edwards OneWorld package, enabling this furniture client to complete customizations and report writing following their recent system implementation.
Process Improvements & System Implications
Review the key business processes for this manufacturing company, identifying ways to improve efficiency and assessing whether existing systems will support further potential process improvements.
Integrating Fax over IP
Integrate the Xmedius Fax over IP (FoIP) server into this Domino environment, allowing our client to incorporate this cost-saving fax virtualization technology into their systems infrastructure.
Defining & Testing FileNet Customizations
Define and test the vendor-developed custom document retrievals for archived value statement and commercial invoice information on a FileNet document management system, ensuring that documents can be appropriately accessed by users through web browsers.