There’s been a bit of a tradition here at Green umbrella over the last few years. A tradition I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to continue in all honesty! Each year, between Christmas and New Year, Julia (the previous business owner) published her goals for the business. After taking up the mantle from Julia earlier this year, there are many things I have continued without a second thought. This one, however, was a little scary to say the least! So, I’ve thought long and hard before putting this together.
Why would I share my business goals publicly?
Obviously, it creates accountability. However, I have been lucky enough to surround myself with people that keep me accountable on a daily basis. The team here at Green Umbrella HQ certainly keep each other in check and are not afraid of ganging up on me when it’s required! I also have several trusted individuals who have become my counsel over the last year meaning that at no point have I become overwhelmed; when I have needed help it has always been there.
If I publicise my goals – what happens if I don’t achieve them?
Over the last few years, I have set structured goals privately. I have only been accountable to myself and I have achieved and moved the needle on all of them consistently. I have a process in place that is habit for reviewing these goals – even the ones I’m not particularly excited about!
How do I feel about sharing my business goals?
I think I’ve always looked for ways to do more and be more, so this is totally reflected in my outlook and therefore my goals too! However, if I share them, it feels like this also means admitting that I’m not everything I could be right now – and that makes me feel incredibly vulnerable!
All of my goals point to becoming a better version of myself and also creating an environment where those around me may also become better versions of themselves. I know – it sounds… ‘cheesy' to say the least! (For those who know me personally, I wanted to use a completely different word then!)
I have shared my goals retrospectively in the past, but only with those closest to me and only ever the ones I’ve struggled to achieve or needed help to achieve.
There’s also another angle. I am really, really bad at recognising my own successes. Over the summer I was talking to Amanda, a member of the Green Umbrella team, about our progress to date and was sharing some frustrations when she stopped me in my tracks and reminded how much I had achieved in a short few months (I’m saying months, she was counting it in weeks). Amanda reeled off a long list of successes to me, I just got more and more uncomfortable and squirmed more and more with each one. In honesty – by the end of the conversation I think Amanda was laughing because if she didn’t, she’d have slapped me!
Sharing my goals might also mean publicly saying – yes. I did that. Look at me I’m awesome at some point. Even writing that makes me cringe! The goals I have achieved over the years have just been long forgotten. I’m proud of them – but once they’re done, I’m on to the next challenge. I am one of those people that just struggle with praise.
So, what am I scared of?
I think it’s a brave thing to do – putting your goals out there. But I do also have to realise I can publish an edited version. It doesn’t have to be the whole kit and kaboodle. After thinking about it I realise I’m not at all scared or nervous about it. It’s just a change in mindset from doing something that has been quite private for me to making it public. I realise now I had said “I’m not sure I want to publish my goals publicly” before I’d actually even considered it!
My reality is I could not care less if anyone else believes my goals to be too big or too small, too vague or too detailed. In fact, I don’t even care if anyone chooses to judge the way I present them, or how I’ve come to settle on them. For some, they may be offensive or incomprehensible and for others, they may be inspired. However, in the end, these are mine and I am sharing them for my own reasons.
No, wait, that last paragraph isn’t altogether true. I am being a little evasive about some of my reasoning. In a desperate attempt not to sound like I think I am the big ‘I am’, I am giving in a little bit to self-depreciation again. You know what? 2019 was a massive learning curve for me and I am being told by people around me that I have grown tremendously. I want to carry on doing that and maybe pass some of what I have learned to the people I care about. So no, these goals are not being shared totally for my own benefit, I hope they will also be useful to others as either a promise for 2020 or a jumping-off point for them to set their own goals perhaps.
Here goes, then… time for me to share my business goals for 2020!
Don't worry – I’m not going to bore you with a long list! Just before we dive in, I approach goal setting by identifying my aims, these are usually focused on the themes of people, personal and profit. I then divide these aims into specific goals and create specific objectives that are of course ‘smart' that I can achieve to get me to where I need to be. So, with that in mind, I'm just going to give you the headlines that encapsulate my aims, goals and objectives for 2020.
1. Leading through more than just example.
I will lead not only through example but by also sharing the tools and strategies I use on a daily basis. I will support the Green Umbrella team in implementing those tools and strategies themselves where possible, and where they are unsuitable, support them in finding alternatives that work for them.
This means ensuring Jane and Emily have not only my time on a more regular basis but also protecting that time so that it is focused and I am present.
Update: The year started out so well! We were 100% on top of this until GUHQ went WFH! Not being in the office together regularly made this tricky, not just from the perspective of scheduling time but being able to share strategies ‘ in the moment' across the office. (I really can't wait to get the team back int he office together again!) Moving forward we're keeping this goal but tweaking it to involve more external resources for the team.
2. Delegate Delegate Delegate
Since April I have been working at what feels like a million miles an hour! I am not intending to take my foot off the gas, but I am clear that in order to maintain course I need to share the load. However, the tasks I delegate should share the load and not simply just shift it, putting others under increased pressure.
In 2020 we'll be trialling the use of Virtual Assistants for me and the GUHQ team to help relieve pressure. It means letting go a little – not something that comes easy to any of us!
Update: We engaged a Virtual Assistant, it was working fantastically well and then we needed to cut back on costs, however after two months without the VA it became clear just how valuable this resource was so the lovely Nicola was back on the case keeping my diary straight! It's still a struggle letting go and Nicola is constantly bugging me for that bit information I still haven't provided but I think I'm getting better!
3. Get down and dirty with the data
We have an immense amount of data at our fingertips. If we spend quality time analysing and understanding this data, this will allow us to work far more effectively in all areas of our business. (Efficiency, profitability, business development, improved service etc)
There are several areas I want to tap into on this, so watch out Mark and Amanda as I bore you with the stats as I discover them, and the crazy things we'll be doing because of what we uncover!
Update: Smashed this goal! And quickly became obsessed with it which has created another set of issues. Look out for my 2021 goals and data featuring there, I'm spending far too much time on this because I find it so interesting!
4. Sell baby Sell
Design and Print, and web design may not be the core of what we but they make up a substantial part of the business Green Umbrella does each year. So how is it that we’re still not known in our core market places for these services?
The only way to change this is to go to market with a stronger sales message for this aspect of our business. That also means shifting my mindset so that I am not only talking about our social media services.
Update: We started the year strong but with a lack of lockdowns and in-person events Print struggled. However, our efforts have seen reward as 2020 saw the number of enquiries and website we produced increase dramatically. A sure sign that we had succeeded in making sure people knew this was something we could help with.
5. Method and process – get it down
You know what – we are damn good at what we do. And with the right methodologies, we can be even better and do more of it.
Not enough of what we do is documented and this will create an issue in the future if we don't act now. As a team we get things done consistently but if we want growth, we need to take a moment and identify our methods and processes so they can be trained into others.
Update: We cracked on with this, more towards the second half of the year in honesty and we still have a fair way to go. It's a monster task and I'm so pleased we started it!
6. Innovate – ??? is the new black
Being Innovative has been a recurring theme over the years and with the changes and trends ahead of us there is yet another opportunity for us to gain early adopter status on a variety of things.
I have something very specific in mind that I have already started to work on while writing and deciding on these goals. It’s all very hush-hush for now but, all being well, by the end of 2020 this will become clear!
Update: Can I skip over this? I had started wheels in motion and then, in March 2020 I had to hit the breaks…. gutted. But, I also had the realisation that sometimes, innovation is simply a distraction. This goal is very much staying in play – but going forward I'm going to seriously consider which ‘innovations' I spend valuable time and resource on!
7. My message vs my insecurity
For a business that deals in putting yourself out there – we’re filled with people who hate being on camera.
I am totally clumsy when it comes to anything photographic. Yes, I am one of those people incapable of taking a good photo or video. But if I want to continue to take pride in practising what I preach I need to suck it up and just do it.
Look out for more regular video and audio from me and the team in 2020!
Update: Well Hello! I think we can say we've safely put this particular goal to bed! We finished 2020 with episode 40 of the Green Umbrella Live Lunch. Are the team any more comfortable in front of the camera – no. But they're certainly not shying away from it these days! In addition, we've been implementing a strategy to revive the YouTube channel and have a firm rollout of videos for 2021 and beyond!
8. Take a minute …and consume.
I think everyone says they’re going to read more when they put their goals list together. It’s up there with early nights, weight loss, more water and less alcohol.
The books I’ve ‘read’ have been audiobooks, usually when I’m driving, or on a train while I'm also doing emails. I watch TED talks while brushing my teeth. It’s rare that I just do any of these or similar activities singularly which means my mind is not focused on consuming this content. It’s a bit like saying you’re going to eat more veg but boiling the hell out of them first so that all the goodness has gone!
I need to take the time to not just read – but actually consume the information and benefit from it, and it needs to happen regularly!
Update: I've spent most of my time listening to Podcasts rather than Audiobooks – mostly because I was spending less time in the car! It's amazing what you can learn in a 40-minute audio! Hour for Hour, I've definitely consumed more content in 2020 than in previous years. I also took the opportunity to join live streams from some of the authors I've listened to previously, so I definitely feel I put a big tick next to the content consumption goal!
9. Enjoy the wins
I will take the time to identify and enjoy the wins, even if it makes me feel totally uncomfortable. And I’ll do it regularly and focus on my personal wins as well as those of the business, and our team collectively. We're going into our 10th year of business at Green Umbrella so this is a great year to reflect and celebrate.
This is probably one of the goals I'll need the most support for from the Green Umbrella team. I'm hoping I can encourage them to recognise their successes, and that I can then learn from them on this one!
Update: The GU team definitely supported me in this. They were begging me to take a week off at one point so I could rest, recharge and enjoy! I've figured out now would celebrating success means to me – it's being able to do something to reward them and show my gratitude. I want to do more for them – so I'll make sure next year's goals include more opportunities for success!
How will you know whether or not we're achieving?
Hopefully, you’ll see the evidence in our content and through your interactions with us. But I promise to check in and give you an update throughout the year, as well as expanding on these as things unfold!
So, there you have it. That's what 2020 looks like for me and the Green Umbrella team. What about you? Have you published your goals publicly? Have you committed to any goals that you'd want to share?