The secret sauce to achieve BIG change: Three key ingredients you need to know

John Ferris Innovation, Leadership, Strategy

With the new year upon us, many of us feel inspired to make big and bold changes —whether it applies to our business, career, or personal life.  At the same time, harnessing that enthusiasm and actually getting things done can be a challenge without the right approach.

I have found that, when looking at the most success companies, leaders, and individuals, there is a recipe for success and it includes three essential ingredients:

  1. Set radically clear goals.

We’ve all heard the saying, “fail to plan, plan to fail”, and know it to be true. Planning is an integral part of the process of getting things done. The first stage of planning is to refine and capture your big goals for the year.  What gets defined, written down, and measured gets done.

When considering your goals, start with the end in mind: what is the problem you wish to solve or the outcome you wish to achieve? Remember, when it comes to annual goals, less is more.  Set no more than three overarching “big goals”.

Once your big goals are set, write down your “step goals”; that is, what are the steps you need to take to achieve your big goals? Again, no more than three step goals under each big goal.

Next, take those goals and set cascading monthly, weekly, and even daily actions for reaching them.

Lastly and most importantly, set a rhythm of accountability to step back, review progress and make course corrections, as needed. This will help you stay on track with the inevitable changes that will influence your plan during the year. I recommend reviewing progress once per week so that you’re never too far off track. It is also helpful to have an accountability partner who you can share your goals with and who will provide honest feedback.

  1. Be innovative – the status quo won’t do.

What got you here won’t get you there. Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get hit if you sit still in today’s quickly evolving environment.

So, how do you make big, significant changes? It requires a fresh perspective and new ways to achieve goals.  As Albert Einstein has said, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

Start with the core problem you want solved that links to the achievement of your big goals, and ask the right questions to start you on a path of discovery. Consider connecting with and getting stimulus from others to generate new ideas. Quickly research your ideas and test them out. Some will fail, but you will learn as you go.

Experimenting often leads to breakthroughs and new levels of success. Think about taking things apart and putting them together in a new way.  Ask yourself: what should I eliminate or streamline? What may be missing completely? What needs to be reduced or enhanced?

Most importantly, develop a mindset to embrace failure, not to fear it or be paralyzed by it. Instead, be prepared to learn from it.

  1. Don’t do it alone – get your team on board

It takes a village to make big, positive change, and regardless whether the change is professional or personal, you will need to engage your “team” to be successful over the long term.

In the business world, your peers, colleagues, mentors or those who report to you are your team. In your personal life, your team may include friends, family, coaches, personal trainers, etc.

To achieve big things you need to surround yourself with the right community that will not only support you on your journey, but will also have the tough conversations with you when you are straying off course. It’s all about team support, encouragement, and accountability.

Here’s to making 2018 a transformative, innovative year and achieving the big and the bold, by doing great things for ourselves, each other and our communities.

John