I’m not setting goals this year – I’m building systems instead

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We’ve all been there, haven’t we – starting the new (financial) year with a list of goals we plan to achieve, and finding at the end of the year that we’ve barely made a dent in some of them.

Is there a better way?  I’m starting to think there is.

James Clear’s article was a disrupter for me in the last couple of weeks – it got me thinking about another approach to achieving what matters to me in the next 12 months, at work and outside it.

Instead of setting goals, I’m going to focus on building systems.  What’s the difference?

Here’s an example: say I want to write a book this year.

If I set that as a goal, then I’m likely to start out full of enthusiasm.  However, gradually my efforts will fall away as the enormity of the task becomes clear and I struggle each day with all the usual things (finding time, motivation, being ‘too tired’), only to find myself at the end of the year thinking ‘if only…’.

If I set up systems to help me do it – for example, writing 500 words a day, every day – the result I want (writing a book) will happen as a result of following the system.  Somehow, that feels a lot more achievable to me, as long as I can stick to it!

Turning that way of thinking to my role as a leader – I’m sharing two systems I already use, and one I want to cultivate, to make me more effective this year:

  • Leading my team: As a leader, I need to stay connected to all the members of my team – in particular, getting rid of any obstacles that are blocking their path.  One key part of my system to do this is my morning walk: I stop by each team member’s desk around 9.30am, to hear what they are working on and what help they need from me that day.
  • Connecting with our partners: As General Manager of a nationwide business, one of the most important things I need to do is keep our leadership group informed of what I’m up to.  Part of my system for this is my weekly email bulletin to our partners, with a quick summary of my activities and reminders about input I’m requesting from them.
  • Visiting our offices: In order to be an effective leader, nothing can replace the value of personal contact with team members.  This year, I’ll ensure I’ve got at least one office visit booked in for every month of the year, to ensure I’m getting face to face not only with our partners but also with our staff, who are the biggest asset of any professional services business.

“When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.” James Clear

I’m looking forward to trying this way of thinking in the coming year.

What systems do you use to help you get where you want to go?

Sarah Magarey - Chan & Naylor

Sarah Magarey


 

Disclaimer: This article contains general information; before you make any financial or investment decision you should seek professional advice to take into account your individual objectives, financial situation and individual needs. Click for more detail regarding this disclaimer.

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