Time doesn’t stand still—in the blink of an eye, we’re already in the throes of 2020. “How can that happen?” we might even ask ourselves!
Time happens. Days turn into weeks and weeks into months, and before we know it, if we haven’t properly planned for the future, growth opportunities could be missed or lost. Don’t misunderstand me, there’s a lot of fun to be had by doing things spur of the moment, yet there can be great reward in hitting goals, “crossing things off your list,” developing your team, and celebrating what you and your business have achieved.
Many of us set goals for the New Year, and many of those are measurable by stepping on a scale each day—I think it’s fair to say many of us have done that! But how do we measure all the milestones in our professional lives if we haven’t taken the time to set goals and map out a plan to achieve them? It’s also important to think thoroughly about what training you and/or your team will need in order to achieve the results you’re hoping to accomplish. With that said, let’s get started!
First Things First
The first thing that you need to do is focus on the end result—ultimately, you have to ask yourself, “If it were a year from now, what would define ‘success’ for me and my business at the end of 2020?”
- Do you want to improve your customer satisfaction scores?
- Do you want to increase revenues?
- Do you want to groom a team member for new responsibilities or a promotion?
Put Pen to Paper
Once you have identified the results you want to achieve, then it’s time to put pen to paper and start writing the roadmap of how you will achieve them.
This roadmap ultimately will be the goals for you and/or your team, but don’t stop at just writing the goals. Outline the steps you are going to take to achieve them. This is the part we don’t always take the time to articulate in advance and what turns out to be the downfall for many when it comes to achieving the results they are looking for.
Back to the Goals
Goals aren’t something that are just accidently achieved—they must be well formulated in advance with milestones established and communicated to all involved. Here are a few pointers that have worked well for me in the past:
- Be honest with yourself and be realistic. You know yourself and your team better than anyone.
- Update your goals frequently and communicate this progress as needed. This could be weekly, monthly, or quarterly. At any time, you and your team need to know if you are at, above, or below where you need to be. Look for small wins. We all need a reason to celebrate.
- Be easy on yourself if you’re not on pace to hit a specific milestone. Don’t get deflated or discouraged. Rethink your strategy and adjust as needed. There are times you will take one step forward and three steps back, yet there are also times you could take three steps forward!
Milestones and Training
Milestones represent the tangible, actionable steps you need to take to reach your established goals. Take the time to articulate how and what you and/or your team need to do and by when. Set milestones and associate dates with each milestone. Here are a few:
- Create a training plan as if you were planning to run your first 5k race. Invest the time to map out the specific training you or your team will need and by when.
- Outline how you will train, practice, and educate yourself or your team to achieve these goals.
- Identify who and/or what resources and/or company you need help from to achieve these goals.
Give It a Go!
Practice makes perfect, so let’s give it a go and write a goal and create milestones and a training plan that can have a positive impact on your customer satisfaction scores.
1. Goal: Increase Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 2 points by the end of 2020.
2. Milestones (add specific dates to accomplish each item):
- Identify the three lowest performing areas of the customer experience (using data that is readily and easily available to you).
- Meet with the management team and communicate these three areas of opportunity and invite them into the conversation of what training your team needs.
- Identify “champions” who exemplify customer service and get their assistance to role model these behaviors and train others.
- Schedule a “kick off rally” with all team members to communicate your 2020 goals/areas of focus and share the upcoming training plan.
- Communicate weekly the most recent NPS results and highlight the specific areas of focus and identify if you’re trending positively or negatively.
3. Training Plan:
- Identify the specific skills that are lacking in each of the three lowest-performing areas of the customer experience.
- Do research online to identify the most effective way to train your team on these skills—virtual classrooms, on-site training, “train the trainer sessions,” etc.
- Create a training calendar for each department for each month. This can include items such as a “daily skill discussion at a pre-shift meeting” to a structured training class. Don’t take your eye off the importance of setting aside time each day, week, and month to train your team.
One of the most important things you need to do in order to stay laser focused on your 2020 goals is to communicate the results you want to achieve to your entire team. You may think, “Of course, I’d do that!” However, time and time again, we’ve found that communication from upper management to front-line team members can be lacking. We’ve found that not all team members know the specific results/goals the business is hoping to achieve; they don’t know where they are in relation to these goals; and many times, when training is involved, they don’t know why they are even attending a scheduled training class. Shout your goals, milestones, and training plan from the top of a mountain—or at least articulate them so everyone in your organization knows what they are.
As you enter this New Year, take the time to invest in the success of your business and your people by setting aside time to create goals, milestones, and a training plan for 2020. It will give your team purpose, direction, challenge, and a sense of achievement knowing how they are contributing to the business’ success.
Theresa LaViola is the director of Training Account Management at Signature Worldwide. She is responsible for managing the field-based training operations for Signature in North America and previously for Europe. LaViola manages the major accounts in the hospitality and multifamily housing industries at Signature. Additionally, she oversees the quality of the training programs delivered by Signature’s network of regional trainers and assists in the development of new training programs. LaViola holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from the University of Florida.