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Reflect, learn and plan for a successful 2019

Article posted: 7th January 2019

Guest Blog by Jackie Brooker, Managing Director of Dakota Blue ConsultingPhoto of Jackie Brooker, Managing Director Dakota Blue Consulting

The end of a year is not only a great time to reflect and learn from the previous 12 months, but to plan for the year ahead too. Whatever stage a business is at, there are always new opportunities for growth, improvement or innovation. There is no better time to regroup and refocus with your team for the upcoming year to drive everyone’s engagement and ensure you are all working towards shared goals and objectives.

How should you set appropriate objectives and goals for your business in 2019?

Reflect on the achievements and failings of the business

Over the last 12 months where have you seen areas of growth and success? What hasn’t worked and why? By measuring past results, you can set realistic goals that have a chance of being achieved. If you set unrealistic goals the chance of failure is much higher, having a demotivating effect and leaving staff feeling over worked and stressed.

You cannot be expected to review the whole business all at once but planning for the year ahead you should set objectives to review each area of the business throughout 2019. Delegate responsibility for reviewing these areas to key employees. When did you last review your policies, are they still fit for purpose? Have you reviewed employee contracts, do they need updating? Are you giving your staff the right types of benefit packages? Could you offer them flexible benefits?

Plan your strategy and communicate the objectives with employees

When you formulate your strategy to roll out over the coming year, ensure you involve your managers and their teams. This will help to get buy-in from all your staff increasing engagement, productivity and innovation. It will also give you a much more rounded perspective of the business. No matter how well you know your organisation, you have hired people for a reason, trust them and use their knowledge, expertise and understanding of how things work on the ground.

Setting shared goals and objectives will lead the team, giving everyone a clear understanding of what they are working towards individually and as an organisation. People work more effectively when they understand how they contribute to the overall business strategy.

Continuous feedback with regular one-to-ones and appraisals is essential to keeping business objectives on track, ensuring everyone is clear on expectations. Create an environment where feedback is a two-way process, ask your employees for their opinions, listen and respond to them, either taking onboard their ideas or explaining why something can’t be done. This really helps to drive engagement and innovation.

Have flexible goals and objectives

With the uncertainty around Brexit, businesses across the UK are having to adapt and make contingency plans more than ever. Building flexibility in to the business strategy is essential to success. This can be done through regular reviews where objectives can be adjusted to improve the way the business is operating. Accept failings as a part of learning and be prepared to modify your ways of working. Always encourage employees to adapt, and update them when goals, objectives and processes change.

Recognise employees’ achievements

Acknowledge hard work and the achievements of staff throughout the year. When we are busy or distracted by the day-to-day running of a business it is all too easy to take people for granted and to forget to thank them for their work. As a leader you should be consistent with how you acknowledge everyone’s effort.

Make time to engage and connect with everyone on a personal level. If your business has experienced a period of growth you may have found that you no longer work directly with everyone. Without even realising it barriers are put up between management and workers creating an ‘us’ and ‘them’ situation.

To earn trust and loyalty from employees an employer needs to engage with them. You can do this through smaller group sessions over coffee or lunch. Don’t underestimate the power in taking time to get to know your employees on a personal level.

Resolve to be a great leader

Be a leader that inspires your team and makes them want to follow. Your behaviour and how you interact with people will be the best example of how you would like others to behave. If you want employees to dress smartly, how do you dress in the workplace? Are you arriving to work late or constantly out of the workplace and are unavailable to staff? No matter how genuine your reasons for being absent are, think how your employees may interpret this.

Don’t put off difficult management decisions. Act to resolve issues efficiently, this doesn’t mean rushing in without the full knowledge of a situation. Instead take the time to investigate and speak with relevant parties, communicating and updating people with what the issue is and what action is being taken. If problems are left unresolved or ignored it can really erode morale and your credibility as a leader.

Ultimately your goal is to encourage your business and people to thrive. Setting objectives will help you to achieve this.

For advice on how to set objectives and unlock your people’s potential contact Jackie Brooker at or via


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