Strong Finish Fast Start

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What’s your score on this year’s goals? I certainly hope you set goals, because it’s an undisputed fact that if an individual wants to reach greater heights, achieve more, and succeed more often, then goals need to be set. Those who don’t create any goals won’t normally achieve their dreams. So, how are you doing? Every quarter represents the perfect time to ask these questions, especially before the last quarter of the calendar year. It’s important, because it’s a time for pause and acceleration. Pause to assess your situation, adjust your plan of action and then accelerate towards some defined timelines. This will allow time for you to enjoy the holidays and hit the ground running in January with renewed vision.

So, let me propose some framework for achieving a strong finish in 2012 and getting a fast start in the year ahead.  Follow this process only if you want to enjoy more of your potential and make a greater impact on people’s lives – your family, friends, clients and others.

We’ll break this down into two primary focal points:

1) Personal Perspective: Where we assess your state of mind, body, soul and context (environments).  If these areas are not in alignment with your external goals, self-sabotage is a threat. What’s ‘below the water line’ can sink any ship you’re trying to sail.

2) Business Perspective: Where we look at the business results ‘through the lenses’ of your Personal Perspective. Yes, how we see the world makes all of the difference in what we achieve and create for ourselves.

Personal Perspective really looks at our satisfaction with different areas of our lives and then how motivated we are to change those areas of least satisfaction. It’s also important to assess the cost of over-emphasizing certain aspects of your life. Take a few minutes to rate each of the following areas of your life in satisfaction and then look at the motivation for change. I suggest rating each one on a scale from 1-5 with 1 being least satisfied and 5 being most. Go back a second time and rate your motivation on the same scale, 1 being least and 5 most motivated. You’ll end up with a score looking like “2” and “4”, indicating you’re unsatisfied and very motivated to improve it.

  • Living In the Present
  • Focus
  • Relationship w/ Spouse
  • Relationship w/ Children
  • Relationships w/ Friends
  • Accountability to Others
  • Helping Others
  • Communication
  • Cash Flow
  • Retirement Planning
  • Savings & Debt
  • Spirituality
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Physical Health
  • Movement & Exercise
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Sleep & Rest
  • Career and Path
  • Hobbies & Leisure
  • Intentional Learning
  • Living in The Present
  • Focus

For those areas you’re most motivated to improve or sustain, renew your short-term goals for the balance of the year. For instance, if you’re not spending enough time praying or going out with your spouse, then set some SMART goals to focus on for the balance of the year. The holidays represent a perfect time to set intentions and goals that allow you to really be present, enjoying time with family and friends. For example, you might want to plan a special holiday event or budget for holiday gifts.

Now, we move to the Business Perspective. You look at your goals and decide where you want to be by the end of the year. Focus will be a key in managing the distractions of the holidays, season changes and a pivotal election year. A good fourth quarter business assessment should consider the following critical areas:

  • Sales (Sales Funnel Management and Lead Generation)
  • Client Value (Product & Service Offerings)
  • Client Experience (Touch Points, Quality and Responsiveness)
  • Operations (Efficiencies and Inefficiencies, Resources and Processes)
  • Technology (Making Processes Faster and Information Easily Accessible)
  • Staffing (Annual Reviews, Clarifying Goals and Team Alignment)
  • Unique Value Proposition (Leverage Strengths to Stand Out)
  • Unfinished and New Partnership Issues (Get Your House In Order & Realign)
  • SWOT (Business Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)

Because clients and revenues are keys to sustainable business success, it should naturally be at the top of your list of fourth quarter planning priorities. As long as you’re responsible for generating revenues, the name of the game is to efficiently satisfy the needs of your most valued clients, attract more of them and get paid for your value. Towards the end of planning, consider four critical strategies for capitalizing on the fall activity spike that normally occurs just before the holidays:

1. List, review and define the next steps for every client where there’s an opportunity to close sales and/or generate additional revenues. Add up the value of all this business and set your intentions with each one, with a plan to take action against a defined deadline. Leverage your staff to schedule the meetings, pull together information and/or move the process forward.

2. Meet with as many clients as possible, starting with your ‘best’ or ‘most ideal’ clients down to your least ideal clients. Define your client segments and code or re-code each client as you learn where they fit into your descriptions. Review the current year and set some intentions towards next year with them. There may be some immediate sales opportunities and you’ll position yourself for new ones in the year ahead.

3. Review and follow-up on leads from earlier in the year. Consider your last communication and schedule an appropriate follow-up. Time changes many things, including the minds of those you may have spoken with at the wrong time. See how the ‘other guy(s)’ did for them this year and show them how you could earn their trust. Some big opportunities can come from professional persistence.

4. Reach out and solicit the resources you need to close complex cases or connect with someone you haven’t been able to connect with in the past. Leverage the strengths of your team, resources and organization to open new doors of opportunity.

Now that you have a clear plan for maximizing revenues in the fourth quarter, circle back to set intentions in the remaining areas of the balanced business review and plan. Create more specific goals – one’s you want to achieve before the end of the year. Put deadlines on those next steps, be inspired by your vision and align others to execute your plan. Above all, have fun and be grateful!

For more on this and other ways to grow your business, contact me at

Todd Mauney is founder and president of ROI Coaching Solutions, a boutique coaching consultancy offering tailored coaching solutions to privately held business owners in the financial and professional services industries. Prior to starting his own coaching firm, Todd co-founded ProAdvisor Coach and served as President until April of 2012.

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