How to kick-start 2012

The early bird catches the worm. The only non-reproducible resource is time, so start building your success in 2012 as early as possible. No matter if you plan something for your own career, organization, or personal life, always execute these steps, either for yourself, or with your leadership team:

  1. Top three priorities. If you haven't already done so, write down your top three priorities for 2012: just three, no more. What do you definitely want to accomplish this year? Be specific, and ambitious but realistic. These goals must be part of your personal or corporate strategy.
  2. Key execution activities. Define the execution activities for the first quarter of the year. Again, be very specific. Immediately assign due dates and responsible people to each task.
  3. Specific measures of success. State the measures of success for each objective in the first quarter. Determine the target values.
  4. First targets. Decide what you want to accomplish in January, and clarify the first concrete steps in the next week. Don't wait for another week to begin. Start now!
  5. First results. Set up a first control point for the last week of January. This might be a meeting or just a check of progress toward your targets. What is important is to set up this milestone NOW.

Don't leapfrog. It is essential to do all five of the described steps, in this sequence.  Does this sound too simple? Believe it or not, ninety percent of people and organizations lose precious time during the first weeks of a year, and wonder about the success of those who move ahead.

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