It’s that time of year. The starry-eyed highs we all embraced at the start of the year have started to erode, largely replaced by glassy stares and stale goals. Maybe that’s a little theatrical, but if you’re like most of us, you know what I’m getting at. You feel like you’re not making the kind of traction you had hoped to, but aren’t sure you have the insight (or energy) to pinpoint why. You want to inspire confidence in your team and move toward impressive goals, but you’re struggling to even motivate yourself to check off the items on your to-do list.
I affectionately call this the Mid-Year Slump. And if it makes you feel better, I’ve been there too. So where do you start, and what can you do to breathe life back into all the big plans you had for your business this year? Read on to find out.
Revisit your 2017 Objectives
Part of the reason we start to lose traction with our goals is because we lose sight of them entirely. This happens gradually, but it happens nonetheless. When a new year begins, most of us map out the specific things we want to achieve, along with our plan to get there. And it seems that our motivation during the first quarter is pretty on the ball, eagerly sticking to our roadmap and moving us closer to our vision for the year.
But then the second quarter mindset comes into view. Maybe we got deflated because we missed a sales quota or perhaps our star client left us for our competitor. Or it could be that life just got in the way, and distractions took us away from the focus we had previously had.
Whatever the cause may be, the only remedy is to sit down again with your 2017 objectives and look them dead in the eyes. Simply reviewing the initial goals you set might be enough to re energize you and get you into action mode again. But if it doesn’t, keep reading.
Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time
Another reason many of us have trouble maintaining the pace we started the year with is because we took on way too much at the onset of our yearly planning. In our effort to make big things happen, we might have set goals that crossed over from ambitious to unrealistic. It’s always a good thing to aim high, but when you try to do too much too fast, you set yourself up for disillusionment and – yes, a business leader’s least favorite word – failure.
As you revisit your 2017 objectives, ask yourself if you set your sights on goals that are attainable or if you need to make revisions. There’s no harm in redoing your goals, as long as you make sure you’re striking the proper balance between being ambitious and yet realistic. Then, it’s imperative you break down the larger goal into smaller pieces so you can be successful.
If, for example, you have a revenue goal of $10 million for the year, figure out how many clients you’d need to bring on each month to make that happen. Then decide how many you would need each week. Then, consider how many emails or phone calls, meetings, and pitches you need to handle every day to hit that goal. The more specific and more granular you can be in your steps to obtain your goals, the more likely you can actually achieve what you want to. On our team, we have kept this very simple and have whiteboards all over our office. On these whiteboards, we highlight each of our goals and we individually update each week the progress we are making towards our company and individual goals. This visibility alone has brought significant clarity and alignment on our team.
Be Honest with Yourself
Throughout this process, you must do something that is far easier said than done: you must not lie to yourself. It’s not that you intentionally mislead yourself, but all too often we create narratives in our heads that are false, but make our current reality a bit more palatable.
For instance, maybe you shirked on your responsibility to follow up with customers who used your services once and never came back. Instead of making excuses about why that might not have been the most useful activity, be accountable to yourself. Figure out where you fell short, and do some internal reflection to get to the root of why this happened. Once you’ve identified where you detoured off of the original route, you can start to formulate a plan to get back on track. And this shouldn’t be an exercise in beating yourself up. Those who win in business know how to accept responsibility, plan to improve, follow that plan – and move on. You can do the same.
Communicate Earnestly and Openly
Lastly, it’s time to rally your troops. Meet with your team to talk about challenges you’ve experienced as a team and individually. Identify gaps, and ask for help brainstorming solutions. Be sure to be open about your own struggles and foster a safe environment so your team members feel comfortable being honest too. You all are working, hopefully, toward the same goals, and an authentic meeting can help everyone reset and feel refreshed as you refine – and then follow – your plans. Oh, and be sure to end the meeting on an upbeat note.
It’s never easy being a leader or accomplishing great feats in business, but the upsides can be so richly rewarding. If you’re eager to get back on track and exceed your own expectations the rest of this year, give my suggestions a try. These same steps have worked really well for me in my own businesses, and I hope they’ll do the same for you. If you would like to have a more in-depth conversation about how to evaluate your business objectives from the first half of the year and how to improve for the last, please contact me!