The year 2018 is here and while some South African employees are enjoying the last part of their annual holiday season before the start of this year’s work, it is also the time when people start to prepare for work. Others have already started on 2 January and can already show two weeks of work. Talented employees have already been through a clear thinking process before the first working day of 2018 starts. They know what they want to do this year, they also know what they will do differently to achieve success. Talented people don’t wait for things to happen, they make things happen. Moreover, they will not be satisfied with simply replicating the previous year’s successes, they are determined to refocus their efforts in significantly raising the bar in achieving even greater heights.
In this spirit of positive affirmations and a clear vision for yourself, I want to share some guidelines for talented employees in focusing their goals, objectives and actions for 2018. I present them to you as the 18 D’s of success:
Have a dream on where you want to be in December 2018. Admittedly most people are not even ready to think about February, let alone December! By the end of the year you need another holiday, but you want to look back and say this was a great year full of successes and achievements. Envision this dream by visualising your goals and successes.
Ensure that you have clear direction on where you want to go to in 2018. Be focused around clearly defined and specific objectives to achieve. Write them down.
Define your key priorities in life and work. Have clear definitions of what excellence mean to you at work, as well as key aspects such as relationships, customer service, empowerment and ethics. Likewise, define key priorities in your personal life, for example relationships, well-being, fitness, financial goals and family time.
Decide upfront how you will differentiate yourself this year. Remember that you are competing with other talented people. Be different with a clear strategy of differentiating yourself and the value you bring to the organisation, your stakeholders and society at large.
Work through your diary and make sure that all key dates and milestones are clearly visible. Start planning towards these target dates and stay on track.
Be determined to achieve success. Be positive, focused and determined to attain your goals for the year.
Once your goals are clear, the next important thing is to commit to these goals, thus you need to be dedicated in executing your plans, even when you encounter obstacles.
While there may be some uncertainties in 2018, one thing is certain – this year will be more digital than previous years. Get up to speed with the latest technology and ensure that you leverage technology in accelerating your personal and work success.
While goals are essential, achieving them will not happen if you don’t follow-through with clear actions. Make things happen. Do things in a focused yet results-driven manner. Go for small wins first and convert them into big wins.
Most aspects of work require attention to detail. Plan how you can improve in paying more attention to detail when necessary. See if you can have all key contact details at your finger-tips when needed.
Similarly, your documentation must be in order – from your own life policies, to insurance documentation to all documents at work. Be on top of your administration. Manage yourself better and get support from good administrators. Sound tracking-systems will make life easier and prevent unnecessary problems and follow-up.
Realise that you may need to develop some new skills or talents this year. Adapt your personal development plan to ensure that you grow and develop yourself. Also, develop those around you to multiply your success.
Be daring this year and take chances. Get out of your comfort zones and take good calculated risks that could be useful in unleashing your potential and leveraging unique business opportunities.
Some of the most successful businesses over the last decade have been disrupting their industries. Perhaps 2018 is your chance to disrupt the status quo – in your life, your job, your organisation, your sector or even across sectors. There are many serious weaknesses in the status quo, if you can find a disruptive solution to meet customer needs, you can add significant value to business and society.
Ultimately, what counts is action as expressed in your deeds on a daily basis. Be kind to others and do good deeds inside and outside the workplace. Some of our social entrepreneurs have achieved significant impact by focusing on deeds. This year, we need more action, and less talk. More productive work, and less meetings and talk shops.
Manage your finances better this year, at both a personal and work level. Get rid of your debt and save more money for the future.
Think how you can leverage the diversity around you – your colleagues, your teams, your partners. Build a culture of diversity to enrich your thinking, experience and behaviour.
Ultimately, your success this year will depend on the results you achieve in your life, your studies, your work and other areas of interest. Use an attractive dashboard for this purpose and celebrate successes along the way.
There you have it – the 18 D’s necessary to set you up for success in 2018. Your own unique skills and talents are what makes you successful, but some good thinking and planning could be just what you need to make this year your best year yet. A positive mind-set is a good start, but some clear actions are needed to make this a reality. The key question is: How can you optimise your talents this year in achieving success? Have a great 2018!
Marius Meyer is CEO of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP). A previous version of this article was published in Talent Talks.