Monday, December 27, 2010

Brainstorming Your Goal and Action Plan For 2011

Setting goals is important if you want to achieve more next year. Waiting for luck will not produce the results you desire.

Having clear goals makes the tough decisions that come your way a simple pitfall. When faced with a choice you ask "Does this bring me closer to my goals?" - and the answer is a simple yes or no.

But sometimes it is hard for people to review their personal situation and clarify the steps they need to take. They set general aspirations, but miss the specific goals and actions that can make a difference.

I have become very good at identifying good ideas for others, but I still miss things that could help me achieve success. We are all too close to our own lives to have clear vision.

This year I have turned to others to help me identify some goals, and actions, that will be part of my 2011 plan. In return, I will assist them in a review of their own path.

You can reach out to people and brainstorm together for your "Goal / Action Plans" for 2011.

Seven Steps To Brainstorming Your Goal and Action Plan for 2011

1. Select someone (or a small group) whom you respect. You can get together in a conference room, a coffee shop or in your living room. Allow 30 minutes per person in attendance. Two, three or four people is ideal, but a larger group would work, too.

I suggest the people you meet with not be those who are closest to your business and personal life. The ones who know you best might not have an objective prospective.

2. Understand the meaning of "confidentiality" and leave your ego at the door. Those who brainstorm have to be of high character so that you can all share freely your current business situation and future goals. Knowing the other person wont share your goals with your competitors is key to allowing you to freely talk about your desires.

Everyone must leave their egos behind, as a brainstorming partner might have a perspective about your situation that is not what you want to hear. If you do not take constructive criticism well, this process might not work for you.

3. Agree in advance to forgo too much small talk or other conversation. Set a timer and commit to a focused discussion for each person. Time is a precious commodity and this is a working meeting with a clear purpose.

4. Have a plan. The 30 minutes should include 10 minutes for the person at the focus to explain their business and what they are hoping to accomplish in the new year, and 20 minutes for the other person(s) to ask questions and make suggestions.

5. Take Notes. A notepad, laptop, or white board should be used to record all ideas. Nothing suggested in a brainstorming session is a bad idea or "wrong". Instead gather all information with an open mind. An idea that is not the right fit might be the catalyst for another concept that will have a direct impact on your future success.

6. After the meeting review. Devote time to contemplate the ideas that other person had for you. Think about how you can implement the unique ideas that were suggested. Take the parts that resonate and make them part of you 2011 Goal and Action Plan. Do not dwell on the parts that were not in line with your plans.

Be sure to write down your goals. These should not only be derived from this meeting, as you should be compiling a deeper set of goals and actions for all areas of your life. Without a written plan, this meeting will be a waste of time.

7. Remember that this meeting was not just about you. While reviewing your own session, consider the 30 minutes that were focused on others and their needs. If you know people in your network who can help them succeed, make an introduction. If other ideas come to you that could help them, send an email. Too many people do not "follow through" when they think of ways to assist other people. Do not be selfish. Take actions to assist the other person no matter when the idea comes to you.

How do you find brainstorming partners? Just ask. There are lot of people who want to jump-start their career in 2011, and are excited to meet with someone to discuss the options. I suggested such a meeting on Twitter and instantly scheduled five mutually-beneficial meetings with local people (some whom I only know via Twitter). My goal is to meet with ten people during the last week of 2010 and the first week of 2011.

Imagine, ten high energy brainstorming meetings where you get ideas from smart business professionals. At the same time, you get to help them with their career. Powerful.

One friend said "but that is ten wasted hours.... I don't have that kind of time". This same person spends tons of time on Xbox. Hmmmmm, I think it is all perspective. If you want to do this you can find the time. And you don't need ten people. One meeting with the right person could change your life.

Spending time with interesting people and learning about their goals is never time wasted. Even if you get no specific short-term ideas, you could spur a long-term relationship that can pay unforeseen rewards in the future.

Have A Great Day.


1 comment:

thomsinger said...


I have met with four people so far to brainstorm 2010.

In two cases I know I provided them with important insight.

The other two helped me in powerful ways.

All four meetings were great, and allowed me to make stronger connections with people I did not know very well.

This exercise has been amazing!