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New Year’s resolutions vs strategic priorities

By Richard Ferguson

FoodBev.com – 24.01.2011

I don’t know about you but I have long since given up on the discipline of setting myself New Year’s resolutions, and I become despondent and depressed about two weeks later when I fail to deliver them…

Now that may sound a little defeatist, and it probably is. However, the nature of New Year’s resolutions is inherently short-term in conception and impact.

One of the traits I see so often across all sectors is an amazing ability to add to the corporate ‘to-do list’

‘I must drink less’, he says, nursing a hangover on New Year’s Day, or ‘I must go on a diet’ after binging over Christmas for 10 days solid. While both aspirations may be very important and valuable to achieve, they’re set (in this scenario) without a strategic context or referenced against the other priorities that are equally important.

If we extrapolate to a work context, how often are our strategic priorities added to an already long and demanding list of strategic priorities? One of the traits I see so often in so many different organizations across all sectors is an amazing ability to add to the corporate ‘to-do list’ rather than exchange items on that same to-do list. We start and seldom stop!

In order to take action that will truly deliver results and is sustainable in the medium- to long-term, I believe that as an organization you must set a strategic context. As you start the New Year, maybe it’s an opportune time to set that strategic context. How about you ask and answer the following questions:

  • Where does our department, function, team or organization need and want to be in the next 12-18 months?
  • What will it take for us to get there?
  • What are the big chunky battles we must win or tasks we need to deliver?
  • How can we get the rest of the department, function or organization involved and aligned behind this activity?
  • What capability might we need to develop and nurture if we’re going to be successful?

Now this isn’t the only set of questions, but gathering the right group of people together and at least having a conversation on the topic has got to add value.