5 Powerful Ways to Finish 2017

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There are less than two months before the end of the year. How are things looking for your organization? If it’s been a rough year, you may be tempted to hunker down and ride out the rest of the year. Hopefully things will be better in 2018, right? Then again, if things have been going swimmingly you may feel equally tempted to rest on your laurels, enjoy the holidays, and sail into new year.

Whatever your situation is, that’s no way to approach things. The end of the year isn’t a door that you should quietly saunter through. It’s one that you should kick open, armed with accomplishments and new plans. There’s a lot depending on this.

Why is this so important? First of all, there’s a reason we celebrate and acknowledge the end of the year. It’s a time when people set new goals and priorities, and reflect on the previous year. If you can end the year on a strong note, that can be a big morale booster for your team.

There are also practical matters to consider. If you are seeking out new investors, or considering heading to your bank for funding growth or other initiatives, your potential sources of money will likely want to see your books. Your end of year benchmarks will definitely have an impact on how your success is viewed by potential financiers.

Clearly there is no time to waste, so let’s get started. Check out these five ways to finish out 2017 and create a highpoint for your business.

1. Review Your Goals And Determine Are Still Doable And Which Are High  Priority

Now is the time to dust off your list of annual goals and review them again. Check off what has already been accomplished. Then, take a look at the rest. Divide these into categories:

  • Action Items That Can be Worked Thru Before Year End With Existing Resources
  • Action Items That That Would Require Additional Resources to Complete
  • Action Items that Are Simply Not Doable in Two Months

Once that is done, all of the goals should be categorized again without consideration for how attainable they are. Instead, categorize them according to priority. The highest priority items should be goals that will either have the most positive impact on the business. The lowest priority items should be goals that will have a significantly lower positive impact.

This activity should be undertaken by each team. The ultimate goal is to identify action items that are attainable and action items that are most important.

2. Hold a Cross-Company End of Year Planning Session

Once each team has identified their list of attainable and high priority goals, it’s a good time to get everyone together to compare notes. Leaders from each team or business area can then present the items they have prioritized and the ones that they can work through.

This planning session will give everyone the chance to compare notes and identify potential conflicts. Ultimately, each team should walk away from the planning session with a finalized list of action items that they are going to tackle before the end of the year. Depending on the outcome of the planning session, these items may be from the lists the teams created, or they may be entirely new items.

3. Rethink Priorities And Adjust Resources Accordingly

If knocking out important end of year tasks takes highest priority, it only makes sense that other items become a lower priority. It’s time for teams to take a look at the duties they perform and start making some adjustments.

Stephen Covey’s time management quadrant can be useful here. This divides tasks into one of four categories. These are Quadrant 1: urgent and important, Quadrant 2: important but not urgent, Quadrant 3: urgent but not important, and Quadrant 4: not urgent nor important.

In this case, quadrant 1 should contain the selected year end activities. They receive top priority and resources. Quadrant 2 will contain activities such as long range planning or research and development. These are important, but unless they have been established as year end action items they aren’t a priority for the time being. Quadrant 3 will be operational tasks. These will remain a priority as they are necessary to keep the company operational. Obviously quadrant four items will receive little to  no priority at this time.

Once the quadrant one and three items have been defined, it’s time to look at the available resources. Basically, does each team have the manpower and resources to attain it’s year end goals. If not, that needs addressed. Perhaps it’s time to bring on a few temps, or to temporarily shift team members from one position to another. Some staff may need to take on additional responsibility.

4. Empower People to Take Action

At this point each team and each team member have been given very important tasks with a mandate to get them done before the end of the year. It’s up to management to help them by removing as many roadblocks as possible. For example, team leaders may need to authorize overtime, hire new staff, purchase equipment, even approve expenses such as ordering dinner in for late night work sessions. Companies that operate internationally may have travel and other relevant needs and expenses. They may need to book flights or hire translation services from this list of best translation agencies published by Pick Writers.

Many companies have detailed approval processes that staff must normally go through when doing these things. And, for the majority of the year, this makes sense. However, in a year end rush to finish strongly these processes can be frustrating red tape that slows progress. Consider easing back on these limitations so that teams are empowered to meet their goals.

Of course, it isn’t just team leaders and managers who need to be empowered. Team members do as well. Managers and leaders should check in with their teams to ensure they are in the best position possible to be productive. If employees find they can get more done working at home, if they decide to work late to retain moment on a project, etc. They should be given leeway to do so.

5. Celebrate: Then Get Back to Work

When end of year finally hits, there are going to be a lot of employees who have worked long and hard to ensure that all objectives were met. Many will have put in overtime, and missed important family time. They deserve acknowledgement and likely some kind of reward.

This is the perfect time for a company wide celebration, bonuses, or some other tangible reward for their hard work. By acknowledging their hard work and achievements you can help guarantee that much of the same energy and enthusiasm will be applied towards starting 2018 just as strongly as 2017 ended.

Conclusion

Two months may not seem very long. However, you shouldn’t use that as an excuse not to make every possible effort to achieve as much as possible before the end of the year. Surely there are important goals that you can make a priority and knock out with a bit of cooperation and effort. By using the strategies listed above, you can define those priorities, get team members onboard, and start getting things done.

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