As an auditor of financial statements and organizational performance for over 30 years and I can say that the people and organisations who make it, plan for their success then follow their plans. I have seen many that fail and almost all either had no plans or had an unworkable plan.
As this year opens, I thought I would share with you a simple strategy for developing a plan for success in 2014.
Setting Your Goal
Start with your end goal in mind. A goal is the specific desired result you wish to achieve over the next 3 or more years. A typical goal for a writer could be one of the following.
- Within 3 years to publish my novel
- Within 5 years to be making a living from writing
- Within 7 years to be a best-selling author
Selecting Your Indicators of Progress
According to Tom Peters, “What gets measured gets done.” Therefore, you need to select indicators to monitor your progress towards your goal.
An indicator is a particular value used to measure activities, outputs or outcomes. Indicators should be a reflection of the things you can reasonably control. Examples of these indicators include the following.
- Number of words written
- Number of books sold
- Dollars of royalties earned
It is important to select indicators that have a logical connection to your goal. If your goal were to finish your novel, words written would be a good indicator, but not if you want to be a best-selling author where you need to focus on book sales. If you what to increase sales of your book, consider adding an indicator regarding your social network such as the size of your mailing list.
Defining Your Objectives
An objective is a one-year measurable milestone, which indicates a change or benefit that you hope to accomplish on your way to achieving your goal. An indicator should follow the objective statement so that you can track your progress. You should have an objective for each of your indicators. Examples of objectives include the following.
- By the end of the year, I will have written 100,000 words.
- By the end of the year, I will have submitted my novel.
- By the end of the year, I will be making an average of 5 cents a word.
Creating Monthly Targets
Ever notice how having a deadline pushes you to get things done. Creating monthly targets will allow you to pace yourself throughout the year and the monthly deadlines will help to keep you on track. Make sure that you consider all factors when setting your targets.
Say your objective is to write 100,000 words and you plan to take August off and to participate in the National Novel Writing Month. Then you need to write 5,000 words a month except for August when you are on holidays and November when you’re going for 50,000.
Don’t set yourself up for failure before you start. Before committing to your plan, check to ensure that your objectives are within the resources available to you. Consider the following.
- Your past performance – If you had difficulty reaching 50,000 words this year, you might want to reconsider 100,000 in 2014.
- Your financial capacity – Can you afford a copy editor and cover designer for your Indie book.
- Your time – Is there anything on the horizon that will take up more of your time, say …
- Your health – Will you have to slow down because of an ailment.
Now that you have a workable writing plan for 2014, all you need to do to reach your goal is to follow your plan. Compare your progress to your targets each month to keep you on track and reach your 2014 objectives and bring you closer to your long-term goals.