5 Reasons You Aren’t Going to Have the Year You Planned

Steve August
January 5, 2021
5 Rules for Rocket Ships

Happy New Year and and welcome to 2021!

With the new year comes fresh enthusiasm, a clean slate, and ambitions re-ignited from a (hopefully) restful holiday break.

The other thing we bring into the new year is a short memory.

Because more often than we’d like to acknowledge, we just finished reviewing how we fell short on expectations in the previous year.

So why do things not turn out as planned?

Of course, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that even the best laid plans can be blown up by events beyond our control.

Yet even in a year like last year, complete with a global pandemic, massive wildfires, social unrest, and a topsy turvy election, many of my clients nailed their year.

So what’s the difference between crushing your year or being crushed by it?

Here are five reasons companies and people don’t have the year they’ve planned:

  1. Not relentlessly connecting your longer-term vision with your near-term actions
    You need to have a clear, shareable vision of the future you want to create. That’s your mountain peak off in the distance. Without that, there’s no way to know if your near-term actions are getting you there. You have to look at every near term action and ask if it moves you towards the long term goal. If yes, do it. If no, don’t do it. Simple, but surprisingly hard.
  1. Not breaking down what it will actually take
    We all like big goals. Whatever the big leap you want to make, you need to break it down into small steps to really understand how to make it happen. If you want big customer growth, then you need to understand how many leads, prospects, and conversions it will take. Then you need to look at whether you have the systems and resources to actually make it happen.
  1. Trying to do too many things vs focusing on the few important ones
    This is nearly universal. Once we’ve plotted out our big goals, we then create a huge list of things that we need to do. Some of them move the ball forward hugely, some move the ball incrementally. The trap is trying to do both. Figure out the 2 or 3 most impactful things to do and focus on them. And just as importantly, stop putting attention on the other stuff.
  1. Not staying on top of it every week
    While we often report progress in quarters, it’s the day-to-day and week-to-week effort that actually gets us where we want to go. If we don’t check in every week on the 2 or 3 most impactful things we are working on, it’s easy for them to get pushed aside by the deluge of daily crises and busy work. You have to keep yourself honest and accountable every week.
  1. Not understanding the transformation you need to make to achieve your goals
    The single biggest reason companies and people don’t have the year they’ve planned is asking for big progress without understanding the transformation needed to make that progress real. You are not going to go to your next level by continuing to do things as you are now. You will need to become the organization or person who achieves those big goals BEFORE you actually do it. Everything starts with your own transformation.

I’ve seen a lot of processes over the years that help people with planning their years and quarters. For a variety of reasons, none of them felt just right to me.

So I’ve finally worked on creating my own. I’ve been walking some of my clients through it, and they’ve expressed incredible excitement about it, especially how it helps them break through on all 5 of the things I mentioned above.

Here’s to a great 2021!


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