It’s almost the end of 2016, and as always, another year has flown by. Whether you have had more of a successful or challenging year, it’s now time to look to the future to make the most of 2017.
Failing to plan with a proper strategy in place leads results in us entering the year in a reactive state, without a clear focus and without being properly prepared for success. With that in mind, below we have explored how to create your own professional strategy for 2017.
What worked well for you in 2016?
The first, and most important step, is to reflect on the year which you have just had. Be as harsh and critical on yourself as possible here, it will all help in creating a more refined and professional strategy for the year ahead.
What went well in 2016? What aspects about your work life or personal life didn’t feel like they were right and you want to change? Many people enjoy life when things are going well for them, and then ride the wave when things are a little rougher, assuming it’ll pass. But the truth is, you need to take action to achieve what you want it life, and a long, hard reflection is a great place to start for this.
What do you want from 2017?
The next most important task is to ask yourself what you want to achieve from the coming year. Goals like “to be happy” or “to have more money” don’t count; these are very generic goals that don’t provide enough support to help you reach them.
Start with yourself; if you want to be happier, then why and how do you want to be happier? If it is by having a bigger house and getting that promotion that you’ve always wanted, then you have begun to clearly define the things that you want to achieve in 2017.
The important aspect is to make your goals realistic and achievable; make them as specific and precise as possible with clearly defined aims along the way.
Think about the direction you want to head in and what direction you are actually heading in. Think about what skills and experience you’ll need to help get you in the direction that you want to be going.
One of the most common ways of goal setting is through SMART Goals, which are as follows:
Specific – your goal needs to be clear and specific, such as “to have a 10% profit margin in this fiscal year”
Measurable – you should be able to easily measure your goal
Achievable – your goals need to be achievable and not wild
Relevant – make sure that your goals are relevant to your business aims. If you are a charity, then perhaps your success should be measured by social impact rather than profit
Time-bound – set time limits for your goals. This will help you to be more accountable when trying to achieve success
If you stick to this pattern when creating your professional strategy for 2017, you’ll find it much easier to both set and smash targets for yourself.
Enhancing your personal brand
Tied in with any professional goal that you set yourself is thinking about your professional brand. With the rise of social media and a digital presence, there is no doubt that prospective employers, clients, and customers will be taking a look at your personal brand.
What have you achieved in 2017 that you can use to enhance your CV and LinkedIn profiles? What new skills have you learnt and what have you done that could make you stand out from the crowd?
Keep your professional profile up to date; this will often be the first impression that many have of you.
Looking ahead to 2017
Although there is still plenty to enjoy before 2017 comes around, it will come around quick! Be sure that you are ready for the year ahead with realistic and achievable goals that suit your own desires. By planning properly, there is no reason why you can’t smash 2017.