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I Resolve To..

It's time! January 1st is here, and it is time to write our New Year's Resolution. You know. The "I resolve to" statements that live with us until somewhere around January 15th.

We tend to frame our resolutions as goals. The "I resolve to x" statement that we put in writing and hang on the refrigerator door or bathroom mirror. As an example, in the stack of resolutions that I wrote down for 2019 (and 2018, 2017, 2016, etc.) I had "lose weight." Nothing specific. Just "lose weight." Lose weight was my big health goal, not my health outcome.

I was perfectly willing to give up my extra pounds and not have to do anything to make that happen. Lose wight should be simple. It should just happen. After all, that's why I resolved to lose weight. Guess what, my resolution failed — what a surprise.

Shifting Focus

This year I am changing an old habit, discarding my list of resolutions, and trading them in for a list of goals. The desire for that original resolution remains consistent. However, it shifts from a goal to an outcome.

To reach my lose weight outcome, I am working backward and setting three micro-goals.

The outcome is to drop 30 pounds:

  • Goal 1 is eating fewer calories, consistently

  • Goal 2 is increasing physical activities month by month by 10%

  • Goal 3 is to measure on a daily basis

Enough About Me and My Girth

Most organizations set resolutions. They hold an all-hands call, and the CEO announces in their most official voice, "This year, we resolve to dominate the global XX and grow our business three-fold." Blah blah blah. Hooray. Awesome. Hit the snooze button.

You just said the goals are (1) dominate, and (2) grow by three-fold. If you lead an organization of 1000 employees, you now have 1000 interpretations on how to do those two things. That is if they care.

Step back and look at the resolutions. Convert them to outcomes. What three micro-goals could you assign to them? It might look like this:

The outcome is to dominate XX:

  • Goal 1 is to create a niche where you are known as the leader

  • Goal 2 is to provide value that sets you apart from your competitors

  • Goal 3 is to create an internal culture that thrives on creativity

The outcome is to grow by three-fold:

  • Goal 1 is to implement a solid partner strategy

  • Goal 2 is to develop and scale internal talent and capabilities

  • Goal 3 is to put processes in place that drive client delight

The goals are now actionable, assignable, measurable, quantifiable, and changeable. Oh, and they are personal. They are something your team and leadership can get their heads around, build out a plan, and then go run with it and measure their progress.

If that all-hands call had been about the goals and what it meant to everyone personally, the outcomes would have made sense. The force of 1000 business-ready warriors could have taken the hill together!

Let's take a brief respite. Even though my intent is this article is not to get into the specifics of great goals, I will only post one caution. Do not create 19 goals for changing your "x." Make it a short, focused list of the top three to five (max) and get on with it. You can always add, change, and delete goals along the way. Do make sure you include one BHAG.

I resolve to let 2019 go and to enjoy the start of this new decade. It is truly an exciting time. Think in terms of goals and outcomes.

And, if you do pick a resolution to lose weight, let me know how it goes.

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