Time to wipe the whiteboard clean and start again.
With all the people out there writing and coaching about business planning, I’m going to keep it simple and recommend that you start with just three words.
This is actually a New Year’s ritual I began about 7 years ago which has been popularized by business coach and social media expert Chris Brogan.
The 3-word practice is deceptively simple:
- Condense your guiding themes for the next year into three words.
- Keep those words visible and use them as reminders about your intention for the year.
- Choose a companion image or icon to have both visual and verbal triggers to reinforce the annual goals/themes. (optional, but I like to do this)
I love this practice because the challenge of choosing just three words forces you to zero in on your most important themes, values and priorities. In turn, they guide other crucial choices throughout the year. It's fun, effective and really helps connect the drier planning processes to both vision and values.
In the past, my 3 words have helped me keep motivation and intention alive long after most New Year's resolutions have quietly disappeared.
My 3 words for 2018 are:
This word will be my constant reminder to not let mediocre results, temporary blocks or the status quo define who I am or what I care about.
I’m using the word Node to emphasize community and trust. In a network each node is critical to the flow of knowledge, experience and skills that define access and success. I see my writing, speaking and community-building as a node—a gathering point and a conduit for growing social enterprises.
The more we work together, amplify each other, and collaborate, the greater success and impact we will all have.
This phrase really works for me because I love cycling. When I think about gearing up I have a strong physical feeling about the work involved in tackling a hill and an instinctual understanding of how important the right gears and shifting at the right time are to actually making it to the top of said hill.
In business, gearing-up is about leveraging systems to make the work easier. It’s about having a strong mental model for how you will move forward when faced with a challenge. It is about seeing the peak, persevering to the top, and knowing that the hard work is going to pay off in the end and you’ll be treated with a fabulous view and a sweet downhill glide.
Things are complicated enough, we don’t need to add complexity to our guiding principles for the year to come. Pick three words, remind yourself of them daily, and use them as your guiding principles—it makes for a streamlined year.
If you want more details on the 3-word process, check out Chris Brognan’s #my3words post.