Improve your business—and your life—in 2011

So, it is a new year (and a new decade)… think about it!

As leaders enter a New Year, many of them often wonder what they should do, or even more, worry about how to take their businesses to new levels in the New Year. I am reminded of a client that was all about action and very short on planning; therefore was also short on results! I often had to use analogies to encourage some forethought. I would say “Imagine you are going to have a party… but don’t go buy the beer yet!” Or even more effective was, “We are going on a trip… but don’t start the car yet!” Eventually, this client finally realized the value of thinking: prioritization, planning and measurement.

Those are three important disciplines you should use before investing your time, people and money in improving your business (and life) in 2011.

• There are many ways to prioritize your investments:
1. What is most broken and most important?
2. What will give you the most return for the least amount of effort?
3. What are five things you said you’d do last year that you never did?
4. What improvement would be most valued by your customers and most profitable for you?

• Once you have separated the “time-wasters” from the “initiatives” that will pay off, you need to plan your work:
1. What are you trying to accomplish?
2. What is your goal?
3. What strategies should you employ to reach those goals?
4. What action steps can you delegate?
5. How do you sequence these activities given the dependencies, prerequisites, and resource constraints?
6. Speaking of resources, what resources (time, money, and people) are required for success?
7. Do you still want to do this and why? What’s In It For You, and For Others?

• Lastly, measure your progress and your results:
1. How will you measure success?
2. How will you measure progress and risk?
3. How will you measure the buy-in (or resistance) of others?

If this article has provided more questions than answers, it is worth it. You will waste far less time, money and people resources by thinking through what you are doing, and how you will do it, before you spend any precious resources on actions. If this list causes you to consider what kind of party you are going to have before you invest in food, or causes you to think about where your will go on your trip, before you start driving, it has already added value. Happy thinking in 2011!
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Bob Dodge is senior partner of The Alternative Board – Denver West. He helps organizations improve customer loyalty and employee engagement, coaches leaders in leading changes, consults with organizations to manage changes and is a popular speaker and writer. He can be contacted at 303-550-0101 or His website is

Categories: Company Perspectives