Propose what you want to do...

Recently I wrote a blog outlining the three steps for getting things done and wanted to take some time exploring the steps a little deeper — what will make this even more fun is my friend Renée Cormier is writing a complementary series of blogs to help with the exploration (see her blog).

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I thought I’d start with the first step in the process of getting things done, because unlike a Quentin Tarantino* film, it is important to start at the beginning:

Propose what you want to do

The operative word in this step is “propose” and is important for two reasons. Firstly it’s a verb so it represents action and that’s what getting things done is all about, and secondly, the word represents what needs to be done:

pro·pose [prəˈpōz] VERB — put forward (an idea or plan) for consideration or discussion by others.

At the heart of this is the need to put forward an idea — you need to articulate and illustrate what you want to do. You need this to be done in a way that it’s easy to understand and speaks to how you will measure success with respect to your goal; It is also important to remember your proposal (idea or plan) needs to either solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. Proposing what you want to do needs to be as tangible as possible (in a figurative sense for sure, or better yet, literally — everyone likes to play with a prototype).

As part of my thought process (and before I started writing) I read Renée’s first blog and she had outlined five points for consideration:

  • Too much change is counter-productive.

  • Making a decision is still better than never making a decision.

  • Choosing to make the best of your circumstances is a great way to make sure you are successful.

  • Do what makes your heart sing.

  • Do what scares you a little

At first I couldn’t help but think these weren’t really points that help you get things done but rather considerations for establishing goals; that’s when I took a deep breath of recognition that I’d forgotten one of the most important steps regarding getting things done — establish your goals and objectives. In my own defence, I did bury the important of goals (and their alignment) as I expanded on the step, but Renée had reminded me that establishing goals and objectives should be the first step (it seems I didn’t really start at the beginning after all).

With some quick revisions, I am now suggesting there are four steps to getting things done —

Establish your goals and objectives

Propose what you want to do

Debate what you want to do and make a decision how to proceed

Execute on what you want to get done, and do it

I always appreciate Renée’s thinking and blogging — it has helped me develop my own thinking and ultimately some of the blogs I write. I am better for it. This is a nice segue into my next blog on step three don’t you think? I can’t wait to read what Renée has to say because I know it will be thought provoking.

iamgpe

*If you are not familiar with Quentin Tarantino, he is a great writer and director who seems to start many of his films in the middle of the story.

Questions to Help You Mind Your Business... Question #9

Question #9: How will I know if I am successful?

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This is the ninth in a series of thoughts and opinions by Graham Edwards and Renée Cormier — click here to read the backstory and inspiration (if only for the entertainment). It should be noted that neither of us have seen or discussed our answers before they are posted, which in our mind makes this all the more interesting.

In this blog series we will attempt to answer ten different questions business owners may need answered, using our individual and unique perspectives and approaches. It is our hope that this series will inspire both action and interaction. Please feel free to comment and ask more questions.

Graham —

 I don’t know — you will have to tell me.

Since success needs to be measured against the goals and objectives you set for yourself, it goes without saying only you will know if you’re successful. Sure, there are societal norms and conventions that you can use to benchmark yourself against, but in the end you define your own success.

Oh everyone has an opinion on this; just ask anyone and they will have quite the perspective on it — although I’ve found if you keep pressing you may find they actually struggle to articulate what success really is. I’ve even checked the Internet and found a site called Lifehack — sure enough Missy Yost offered up 20 definitions of success you should never ignore (bless her heart).

  1. Success is always doing your best
  2. Success is properly setting concrete goals
  3. Success is having a place to call home
  4. Success is understanding the difference between need and want
  5. Success is believing you can
  6. Success is remembering to balance work with passion
  7. Success is taking care of your needs
  8. Success is learning that you sometimes have to say no
  9. Success is knowing your life is filled with abundance
  10. Success is understanding you cannot keep what you don’t give away
  11. Success is overcoming fear
  12. Success is seeing your child graduate
  13. Success is learning something new each day
  14. Success is learning that losing a few battles can help you win a war
  15. Success is loving and being loved back
  16. Success is standing your ground when you believe in something
  17. Success is not giving up
  18. Success is celebrating small victories
  19. Success is never letting a disability hold you back
  20. Success is understanding you control your destiny

So there you go.

You may be saying to yourself, “But gpe, we are talking about how will I know I’m successful with my business.” Again, I will say, “I don’t know — you will have to tell me”. You have goals and objectives for your business don’t you?

iamgpe

PS: The only perspective I can really offer is when you set your Goals & Objectives, set them HIGH.


Renée —

I think this may be a bit of a lame question, but as I recall, I was the one who came up with it, so I’m going to provide you with my best answer. People define success in many ways, and it is different for everybody. For some, you are successful if you have a lot of money. For others success is the result of having completed any goal. Are you successful if you don’t have a spouse and 2.4 children? Are you successful if you never own a house or a car? Ask the Dalai Lama.

Years ago, I was listening to a Brian Tracey tape (yes, it was a while ago) about success. He gave a definition that always stuck with me, which was something along the line of achieving any goal with integrity. He went on to say that money is not a measure of success per se. Drug dealers have enormous amounts of money, but you can’t really call a criminal a successful person. They lie, cheat, steal, kill and corrupt to reach their goals. A runner who shoves a competitor out of the way in order to win, is not a successful runner, even if he is first over the finish line. The journey to success is as important as the end result.

So how will you know if you are successful? Look around you. What are you grateful for? Have you set goals in your life? Have you achieved any of them? Have you achieved your goals with integrity? Have you ever failed?

I think truly successful people, never really arrive. Not that they cannot be satisfied, but rather, they find it difficult to stop challenging themselves. Success breeds success. I also think that failure breeds success. You cannot know what you want until you experience what you don’t want. Most successful business people have had their share of failures too. Being able to recognize what is not working and why is a good thing. Have you made mistakes? Did you learn from them? Are you still moving toward your next goal? Do you feel good about the things you have done? Are you a happy person?  I daresay, if you can answer yes to these questions, you are likely quite successful.

The definition of success to me is not necessarily a price tag, not fame, but having a good life, and being able to say I did the right thing at the end of the day. - Jeremy Luke

Thanks to the social media platform beBee, Renée Cormier & Graham Edwards developed a business relationship and friendship that typically involves regular meetings, goal setting sessions, etc. Our meetings often provide the fuel for plans around business strategy, blog ideas and more.

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It's all going according to plan... but is it really?

We'll it's April 1st; not only is it April Fools Day, but this signals the end of the First Quarter (assuming you manage to the calendar year). This is very exciting day!

As an aside, April Fools Day is a day that you can play harmless practical jokes; these jokes, as well as the victims, are known as "April Fools". In theory, there are no consequences, harm or foul for your humorous activities, but remember, some people don't have a sense of humor and long memories, so tread with care. Apart from the obvious merriment, it is also a natural point in the calendar (particularly in business) to determine if you are "on target" to meet your plan objectives for the year.

There is a Six Sigma* saying that goes something like this, "In God we trust, everyone else bring data." I've always liked this saying, as it reminds us that hard, objective information lets us understand a situation and by extension, measure how we are doing against our objectives. Measuring first quarter results against your objectives gives you insight in to how you have started the year - Are you off to a great start, or are you falling a little short and need to course correct?

 Measuring how you are doing relative to expectations is key; it is a main reason why plans, goals and objectives need to be developed... as well as physically written down. It's all about having them down on paper in "black and white", and is the reason for the "M" in a S.M.A.R.T Objective**. "M" is for measurable - Measuring performance to your goals after the first 90 days -

  • Develops an objective view of how you are performing to your goals.
  • Indicates how effective your initial implementation has been.
  • Offers an opportunity to"course correct" or initiate new activities with time enough to be impactful.

Data does not feel or think...it just is; having data and measuring it against your planned objectives eliminates these two statements: "I feel everything is going according to plan" or "I think everything is going to plan"; it allows you to say, "I know everything is going according to plan!"

If you find yourself saying "I think" or "I feel", there is a good chance you are not working from data. Data is knowledge, and knowledge is KING.*** 

gpe

Six Sigma is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement and functional excellence. It was developed by Motorola and popularized by Jack Welsh who made it central to his business strategy at General Electric; it has been adopted by many businesses to drive improvement.

** SMART is an acronym, giving criteria to guide in the setting of objectives:

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify a target of progress.
  • Achievable – can the objective realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Relevant – is the objective in-line with your strategies and plans
  • Time-bound – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

*** I know a dear geophysicist who is probably gritting her teeth over my loose definitions of data and knowledge. My only defence... the use of artistic license to hopefully illustrate a point.