Well, another New Year has come, and once more time for New Year’s Resolutions. Looking at my resolutions for 2020, as I plan for 2021, I was pretty pleased with myself. The goals I missed out on were volunteering and being more social, both of which were hard in a COVID world. However, as I contemplated my resolutions for 2021, a conversation came to mind.
Five years ago, at a friend’s 50th birthday party, one of the other participants said, “I have 20 summers left, and I am not wasting another one.” We all looked in shock at him and asked if he was ill. “No,” was his response. “I am 50, and I believe that until I am 70, I can do pretty much anything I want, but after that, who knows. So, I have twenty summers left, and that is not a lot, so I don’t wish to waste them.” While that conversation resonated with me at the time, COVID-19, the death of a friend, and close two friends having severe illnesses at the end of this year, just brought home that I am heading towards the next chapter in my life, and I need to plan for it. Thus, I took a different approach to my resolutions this year and applied standard business planning processes.
So, what have I done? Well, I started by determining who the best me is. With that in mind, I returned to Jack Cranfield’s ideas and developed a list of affirmations that I wish to live with that will make me the best me. With my affirmations in place, I then created a set of core values that I want to apply to my personal and business life. There are rules that I am going to process my decision making through.
I have developed a BHAG with my best self in mind with that framework. While my personal BHAG is longer than a traditional business one, it needs to include my business, personal, and relationship desires. As a result, it is “Is to have successfully retired in Costa Brava in Spain and Atlanta, with sufficient investments to allow me to continue my lifestyle while ensuring that my children are established in their desired careers.”
So, with that BHAG, let’s clarify it in more detail. I expect to retire somewhere between 2032 and 2037 (70 to 75), so by that time, I need to have:
- Purchased a house on the Costa Brava;
- Invested enough to meet our lifestyle needs living in two places;
- Invested sufficient to pay for regular travel;
- Become conversationally proficient in Spanish;
- Developed outside interests to keep me occupied in retirement;
- Maintained a level of weight, strength, and fitness to be able to enjoy my retirement; and
- I have helped my children complete college and graduate school and get into their chosen professions.
Digging into this BHAG, it has business, personal, and relationship requirements.
The Business requirement is earning over $200k+ net income per year from now until retirement to purchase a home in Spain, resulting in sufficient invested assets to maintain our lifestyle. To achieve this, my business goal is to be a leading business coach in the Atlanta area for companies looking to “Scale without Fail” with revenues between $10MM and $200MM.
The Personal requirement has several components.
- To be proficient in Spanish will require studying and practicing Spanish for the next 10+ years and probably need one or two immersion programs.
- To maintain my weight, strength, and fitness will require losing an additional 10lbs and doing a little more strength and fitness training weekly as I would like to at least a hike/walk of 7+ days once a year and snow ski a week a year.
- To develop interests to keep me occupied in retirement is to keep reading 30 books a year and look at the possibility of doing an online MA degree during retirement to keep my mind active.
The Relationship requirement also has several components.
- Successful retirement will require a robust, loving, happy, and supportive relationship with my wife.
- To have ensured that my children have finished college and graduate school and are established in their professions requires support, engagement, and love.
- To have better relationships with old friends who are spread worldwide.
Having developed my BHAG, I then turned that into a 3 Year Highly Achievable Goals (3HAG) list, which is set out below.
- Generate $250k+ a year in revenue
- Have at least 20 clients between Vistage and external coaching client
- Be proficient enough to have a conversation in Spanish for 30 minutes with a stranger.
- Weigh what I weighed when I graduated high school (-10lbs)
- Fit enough to do an 11-day hike and ski five days
- Read at least 40 books comprising, the Classics, Science, History, Biographies, and five non-fiction books.
- Take an annual two-week vacation with my wife, disconnecting from electronics and the outside world, and focusing on each other.
- To talk to my children weekly about their lives and careers, spending time listening and supporting but not solving their problems. Helping them when I can and spending at least a week a year vacationing together.
- Having spoken to my “old” friends at least once a month on the phone.
SMART Goals or Resolutions
I used my 3-HAG to define my goals or resolutions for 2021 and applied the SMART technique to determine them. They must be:
Specific. The goals should be clear and unambiguous, so you can focus your efforts or feel truly motivated to achieve them. By building these goals to support my BHAG and 3-HAG, I believe I have answered most of the five “W” questions:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources or limits are required?
Measurable. Tying my goals to the BHAG and 3HAG, it was easy to define the measurement requirements. So once again, I have already addressed the questions for measurable goals, e.g.:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
Achievable. To realize my 3-HAG, the goals must also be realistic and attainable while stretching my abilities. I believe my resolutions have addressed these questions.
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
Relevant – Once more tying the goals to one’s BHAG and 3-HAG, I have ensured that the goals matter and align with my pertinent other goals. So I believe I can say “yes” to these questions:
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match my other efforts/needs?
- Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?
Time-bound – All the goals have a target date to have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward, and answer these questions:
- What can I do three/six/nine months from now?
- What can I do one/two/three/four/ weeks from now?
- What can I do today?
Here are my goals for 2021.
- Have five coaching Clients on annual contracts
- Have 14 Vistage Clients
- Start every day with affirmations and planning the day’s events around the 5 x 5 framework
- Migrate all non-value work to outside services, e.g., accounting, calendar control
- Stick to marketing plan for:
- Social Media
- Blog Posts
- Walk five miles four times a week
- Do yoga three times a week
- Stick to new diet of limited dairy, carbs, and sugar
- Work on Spanish 30 minutes a day and start having online conversations in Q2 once a week
- Read/listen for an hour every day for books on my booklist
- Take a two-week vacation with my wife during 2021
- Take a long weekend vacation once a quarter
- Speak to my children once a week to support them and not solve their issues
- Develop a calling plan for “old” friends, so they are all called through the month
- Ensure that when I am with my wife, children, or friends, I am truly present. I have put electronics away, emptied my mind of the usual distractions, and focused on them
Of course, I have taken these and turned them into quarterly, monthly, and weekly plans, which I won’t bore you with, but they are all laid out to be tracked carefully. Also, I have already taken many steps to ensure that I get them done, starting as I want to finish. Finally, I have shared them with my family, friends, and all of you, so I have many people out there to help me and hold me accountable for getting them all done.
As a result, I have prepared a very different list of resolutions this year, but I hope that they will enable me to be the best me in the next ten years and live the life I want. Next year I will let you know if this process led to better goal achievement. However, I suggest that you try something like this with your resolutions.
Here is wishing you all a successful and happy 2021.
Copyright (c) Marc A. Borrelli 2021
Defining an organization’s culture as a “Family” culture reflects tolerance to subpar performance. Rather focus on those characteristics of a “family” culture that you want.
Knowing the profit of your core customers is key to building a growth model. Many companies have identified core customers that are generating a sub-optimal profit and so they cannot realize the profits they seek. Identifying the correct core customer allows you to generate profits and often operate in “Blue Ocean.”
The European Super League collapsed within days of launch due to hubris and the founder forgetting the key parts of their business model, value creation, sales, and value delivery. The collapse might bring a high price.
Many business owners want to sell at the top of the market. However, market timing is tough. Is this the best strategy? Probably not.
Working with many companies looking to grow, I am always surprised how many have not built a financial model that drives growth. I have mentioned before a financial model that drives growth? Here I am basing on Jim Collin's Profit/X, which he laid out in Good to...
As we emerge from COVID, the current employment environment makes me think of a surfing concept: “Being Caught Inside When a Big Set Comes Through.” Basically, the phrase refers to when you paddle like crazy to escape the crash of one wave, only to find that the next wave in the set is even bigger—and you’re exhausted. 2020 was the first wave, leaving us tired and low. But looking forward, there are major challenges looming on the horizon as business picks up in 2021. You are already asking a lot of your employees, who are working flat out and dealing with stress until you are able to hire more. But everyone is looking for employees right now, and hiring and retention for your organization is growing more difficult.
“Why don’t they use common sense?!” You may have said this phrase yourself, or heard it with your managers, when discussing an employee’s actions. However, the frustrated appeal to “common sense” doesn’t actually make any meaningful change in your organization. We all make decisions based on the information we have and the guides we have to use. So if the wrong decisions are being made in your organization, it’s time to examine the tools you give decision-makers.
You can only determine profitability when you know your costs. I’ve discussed before that you should price according to value, not hours. However, you still need to know your costs to understand the minimum pricing and how it is performing. Do you consider each jobs’ profitability when you price new jobs? Do you know what you should be charging to ensure you hit your profit targets? These discussions about a company’s profitability, and what measure drives profit, are critical for your organization.
If you were starting your business today, what would you do differently? This thought-provoking question is a valuable exercise, especially when it brings up the idea of “sunk costs” and how they limit us. A sunk cost is a payment or investment that has already been made. Since it is unrecoverable no matter what, a sunk cost shouldn’t be factored into any future decisions. However, we’re all familiar with the sunk cost fallacy: behavior driven by a past expenditure that isn’t recoupable, regardless of future actions.
Bringing clarity to your organization is a common theme on The Disruption! blog. Defining your business model is a worthwhile exercise for any leadership team. But how do you even begin to bring clarity into your operations? If you’re looking for a place to start, Josh Kaufman’s “Five Parts of Every Business” offers an excellent framework. Kaufman defines five parts of every business model that all flow into the next, breaking it down into Value Creation, Marketing, Sales, Value Delivery, and Finance.