Category Archives: Planning

Your Best Year Ever ~ Goal Setting for 2011

Step 4 ~ WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT

 

Now the next part of the process is probably the most exciting because this is were you start building your blueprint for the next 12 months.

What do you really want in 2011? What goals really matter?

Lots of people come up with lengthy laundry lists of vague, wishy-washy resolutions with no real oomph in them. Often we don’t even really care about them at all. They’re just fashionable or what we think we “should” care about, or based on what we think other people expect of us.

What do I mean? You know, resolutions like this:

…..I’ll cut our overheads                   
…..I’ll be more focussed                   
…..I’ll be a better ____ (parent/boss/friend/spouse), etc.
…..I’ll clear our overdraft                  
…..I’ll do more to bring in new business

Unclear statements like this can NEVER engender any real enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, they’re far more likely to cause you to feel bad rather than good because they all focus on something that’s MISSING rather than on what’s truly desired.

When we focus on something, we are much more likely to get it – whether it’s a car, a financial goal or even a relationship. By sending a message of desire to our brain, we start to make pictures of that and, in turn, we do what we have to do to make it happen. Rather like a builder has an idea of what a project will look like when it’s done or like a hairdresser knows what style they want to create before they start cutting, we can all design the future we want – and then go out to get it.

Unfortunately not all of us are focused on positive outcomes. Many of us are obsessed by what we don’t want, what’s wrong with us and what’s missing from our lives. We often forget to put our attention on what’s great, what’s working and what resources we already have to create even more happiness and success. Because we tend to get what we focus on, if you focus on what’s not working or if you spend all your time wondering why bad things always seem to happen to you, then you’ll simply get more of what you don’t want. What’s the point of that?

Finally, the key thing to consider when you’re setting goals is to clarify why you want something. Chances are if you set goals about things that you need in your life or that will benefit you and others, you’ll feel happy when you achieve: for example, increasing patronage in your restaurant may help your profitability.

But if you set goals just because you think you should or to please other people, you may not feel that great – even when you’ve achieved what you set out to do. For example if increasing patronage in your restaurant just increases your workload, but does little to enhance your bottom line, it’s unlikely to motivate you! You have to ask yourself ‘What’s in it for me?’ and ‘What will happen if I don’t manage to do this?

Whatever goals you set, you have to demand more of yourself to push your performance: and you have to realise that we are all more capable then we think we are. Your ability to achieve is immeasurable – and it can be easier than you think to get what you want.

It is also too easy to set resolutions or goals in some areas which are not then compatible with other areas for life.  For example people often set very ambitious goals for their business, which then conflict with personal goals.  So when setting goals for the coming year it is a good idea to look at all areas of life. Business and career, Personal development, Family, Possessions & things that you want , Spirituality, Relationships or personal relationships, Health and fitness and Financial.  Those aren’t in any particular order of importance and ideally you’ll want to have goals in every single area of life.  Even if you are currently focusing on your business goals for the coming year, at some point you have to be honest and take stock of how well these sit with your goals in other areas.

 

 

Clearly define your goals

 

 

 

So now what I want you to do is take some time, (this is probably the lengthiest part of this process) and literally dream; picture and list all the things that you want to achieve in all those areas over the next 12 months.  Most people find this easier to do on paper rather than on a computer; use whichever format works best for you to get the ideas flowing.

At this point don’t worry if your goals are realistic or achievable or not; just brainstorm.  Play with the idea; focus your energy and attention on it until it’s clear and sharp and big enough to be exciting to you, until you feel great just thinking about it. (It doesn’t matter at all what anyone else might think of it.) What are all the things over the next 12 months you want to be, you want to do, that you want to have in all those areas of life.  The being, the doing and having of which would make the coming year the best year ever.

From your list of goals pick your most important goal to work on for now.

The goals that you need to be setting need to be SMART.  You are probably already familiar with the idea of smart goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound.  Click here for a more detailed article on SMART goals.  But a couple of areas I would stress are:

That your goals need to be specific. Describe in specific detail exactly what it is that you want to achieve.

They also need to be expressed in the present tense as if now; as if you already had the goal

And each goal needs a precise time: day, date, month and year, and in some cases it might even be a time of day

  • Now identify your number 1 goal. What is this?
  • When do you want to achieve this by?
  • What will you see, hear or feel once you have achieved this goal?
  • Why is this goal important to you?
  • How will this goal impact others?
  • What impact will working on and achieving this goal have on other areas of life?
  • If you don’t achieve this goal what would happen?
  • Now imagine 6 months have passed, and you’ve done it.  You have achieved your number 1 goal. Write down how you would feel.
  • Now repeat this process for goals 2 and 3.
  • If you wouldn’t feel wonderful about each of these, then you might like to go and re prioritise.

 

See Part 5 tomorrow or access the whole programme online here


Your Best Year Ever ~ Goal Setting for 2011

Step 3 ~ RULES FOR SUCCESS

 

Yesterday’s exercise probably wasn’t as pleasant as the previous part of the exercise but that is OK; we can now extract learnings from what you didn’t achieve so that you can ensure you make the next 12 months different.

So we’re now going to identify your ‘Rules for Success’.  What I want you to do is go over all of the things you have achieved over the last 12 months and work out what it was that you did during those times that enabled you to succeed.

By going through the goals that you have achieved and also going through the goals that you didn’t achieve you can put together your personal rules for success, the rules that you know you have already proven that if you follow these rules you succeed.

It is a good idea to keep these rules for success somewhere handy, to keep reminding yourself of them.  Then next time when things aren’t going the way that you want you can refer to your rules of success.  I keep mine pinned above my desk as a constant reminder.

So take some time now to review the previous year and work on your own personal set of rules for success.

What are the rules that if you follow them you succeed?

Then look at the things that you didn’t achieve, what were the rules that you weren’t following that if you had followed them you would have achieved these goals?

Rules for Success

  • What do you need to start doing?
  • What do you need to stop doing?
  • What do you need to continue doing?
  • What do you need to do more of?
  • What do you need to do less of?
  • What strengths can you draw on?
  • What are your rules for success?
  • Where will you put these to act as a constant reminder?

 

See Part 4 tomorrow or access the whole programme online here


Your Best Year Ever ~ Goal Setting for 2011

Step 2 ~ WHERE ARE THE GAPS

So, yes, some things fell through the cracks. Take a look at that, too, without the drama

So the next part of the process is to look at the last 12 months and this time look at what you set out to achieve but you haven’t achieved yet.  The goals that you set, but haven’t yet actualised in reality.  And again take some time to make a list of all of these things.

  • What are the things that you wanted to be by now but not yet achieved?
  • What are the things that you wanted to do, but haven’t done yet?
  • What are the things that you wanted to have but haven’t had yet?
  • Have you any outstanding unspoken conversations?
  • What do you regret or feel guilty about?
  • List all the other on-going things that bother you and cause you negative energy – however minor.
  • What do you need to do with them: action or let go?  Make a decision one way or the other; how important are these things to you?
  • What are the things that need to be done?
  • What things do you leave behind you and stop worrying about them?

See Part 3 tomorrow or access the whole programme online here


Your Best Year Ever ~ Setting Goals for 2011 ~ Part 1

Happy New Year!

Set goals for 2011

 

This New Year, how about taking some time (if you haven’t done so already) to sit alone quietly and reflect on what it is you truly want to be, do, and have in your life and for your business?

This process will take you around 2 hours, so a bit longer than the average throw away resolution made on New Year’s Eve.  But to me it is time well spent.

If you prefer to see things written down rather than on a computer screen then I recommend you record all this in a journal, or a hardback book, where you can revisit your notes. Or to access the online version go here. Either way write it down, as this helps reinforce your ideas.

So find yourself a quiet space and set aside a couple of hours to plan Your Best Year Ever.

 

Step 1 ~ CELEBRATE SUCCESS

Let’s start by reviewing the past 12 months.

Most of us have a tendency to view the taking stock process as an opportunity to beat ourselves up and find fault with everything we have NOT accomplished.

Well, enough of that.  Start from a place of power.

This year, give yourself some credit for what you have accomplished! Make a list, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking anything is too small to be significant. In one way or another, in one area or another (and likely in many), you’ve come a long, long way.

So let’s start by reviewing your successes and accomplishments

So starting from January all the way up to today make a list of all of the things that you have achieved, all the goals that you achieved, any new skills learnt, and burdens you have dealt with.  It doesn’t matter how big the goal was or what area of life it was in write down every single thing you have achieved no matter how small no matter how big.  Month by month list and categorize every single thing you have achieved in the last 12 months.

Now let’s take a look at what you have written. I bet you have achieved more over the last 12 months than you thought you did. So notice how good it makes you feel when you look at what you have gone out and done.

  • What have you achieved?

    What have you achieved?

  • What are you most proud of?
  • What have you learnt that you didn’t know 12 months ago?
  • What new skills have you acquired that you didn’t have this time last year?
  • What challenges have you overcome?
  • What setbacks have you overcome?
  • What setbacks have you overcome?
  • What situations will you look back on with a smile, even if at the time it was uncomfortable?
  • What have you learnt from these experiences?
  • How does it feel to be reminded of all your achievements?

 

See Part 2 on Monday or access the whole programme online here


What can Social Media teach us about embracing new ideas?

I’ve just been talking to a friend who is a work from home Mum with 2 small children. We got chatting about social media, and I suddenly found myself giving her all sorts of advice. Am I an expert? Absolutely not (and that’s why I’m interviewing Josiah Mackenzie on “Making Best Use of Social Media in Marketing Your Hotel” for my interview series “How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge“.) But I have learnt enough in the last 12 months to apply the principles to my own business. And I know where to turn to when I need help.

Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t applicable to our business. It’s all too easy to think we can get by, because it hasn’t done us any harm in the past.  The thing is as the saying goes “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get, what you’ve always got.” In other words, if we want to make improvements in our business, we need to learn and be prepared to take on board new ideas, new trends and new technology. 

Here are three stages to embracing new ideas:

  1. We need to understand how they can help. Without that understanding there is little incentive. In the case of social media I know hoteliers who are still ignoring TripAdvisor, let alone embracing what the likes of Twitter or Facebook can do for their business.
  2. Once we get our head around that, we need to set objectives. It’s all too easy to get taken away with a new idea and throw all our energy into it, in the hope that something sticks. Do we use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, a blog, YouTube, all of them ……? Well; that all depends on our objective – who is our target audience – potential customers, suppliers, joint venture partners, and are we using it to bring in business, demonstrate credibility, build rapport….?
  3. Finally, we need to think about the strategy – how we are going to implement it. And this might not mean going it alone. Who can help us, give advice on the best approach, who can talk us through setting it up, how often and how much time will we devote to this, can we outsource the setting up or day to day implementation to take the headache away?

So, just what can social media teach us about embracing new ideas that we can apply to anything new in our businesses?  It has reminded me that:

  • We can learn new ‘tricks’ if we understand why it can help our business
  • We need to be clear on our objectives, so we know what we are aiming to achieve, and can measure its success
  • We need to put a strategy in place  – the how, who, where and when

And before you know it we’ll be talking like an expert, too……

Caroline Cooper

P.S. Join me as I interview 10 hotel industry ‘experts’ over the coming two weeks in “How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge“.


How prepared are you for an emergency?

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Project Argus for hotels event.

Project Argus Hotels is a counter terrorism training workshop designed by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office and the Hotel Industry and provides information and advice to assist you in planning for and dealing with a terrorist or other catastrophic event.  The training is targeted at General/Duty Managers, Chief Engineers, Restaurant Managers, House Keeping Managers and their deputies.

Although the focus is around minimising the risk and the handling of terrorist attacks I felt there were many salient points covered during the session which would make generally good practice for any hotel, restaurant, bar or conference centre.

We all put systems in place for cleaning, cashing up, what to do in the event of fire, but how many of us go beyond the fire evacuation procedure? Would any of us know what do or have the resources in place to deal with something such as an explosion (terrorist or otherwise), a serious road accident outside the premises, a robbery, or even a power cut at seven o’clock on a busy February morning. (We heard from one hotel manager who had experiences an armed robbery at the end of a busy Saturday night – scary stuff!)

Okay, I admit that these might all call that different actions, but there were a number of ways we can prepare for these events which at the very least might give you a bit less stress should they occur, and may help to minimise the impact on our customers.

Obviously I am far from qualified to write about counter terrorism, but here are some of the things I picked out from the workshop that could be of benefit to any site in an emergency situation.

Emergency kit/grab bag(s)

Keep an emergency kit or grab bag behind reception, or somewhere where it can be accessed by anyone at any time in an emergency and can be found easily even if you have no lighting. Contents of the bag might include such things as:

  • Windup radio (unless it regularly used batteries may go flat or corrode)
  • Torch (windup)
  • Bottled water
  • High visibility jacket
  • Space blanket

Incident management plan

This might include such sections as:

  • Roles and responsibilities detailing specific tasks for team members
  • Emergency contacts list
  • Non emergency contact numbers e.g. local police station
  • Utility Companies
  • Suppliers who may assist
  • Key staff
  • Business partners

Staff training

It’s one thing having procedures written down but staff need to know the procedures: how to raise the alarm if necessary, who to contact first, where information and emergency resources can be found. Your guests or customers will look to you and your team for direction and information.

As with your fire drill, run refresher training on a regular basis.

The aftershock

Depending on the circumstances be prepared for:

  • Staff absenteeism through injury or shock
  • Is there a need for counselling (I have first hand experience here from a near fatal accident when a member of our team tried to prevent a car theft from the car park – several people – myself included were stunned by the event. The KP in question was off for 12 months, and was very lucky to have pulled through.)
  • Reputation – word travels fast, so how you handle the event can have an impact on your reputation as an employer, as well as with customers and suppliers
  • Communicate after the event with anyone who may be affected e.g. suppliers, future bookings, etc

Prevention is better than cure

  • Be vigilant – report anything suspicious, and take staff or customers’ reports seriously
  • Don’t invite crime by sloppy security or poor asset management
  • Have set security procedures in place which might include checking of identity cards for maintenance contractors, records of vehicle registration numbers of suppliers, keeping unoccupied offices and rooms, and unattended entrances locked, tamper proof seals on maintenance hatches, keeping surveillance views clear from barriers and vegetation
  • Good housekeeping as well as improving the appearance of premises, reduces the risk of accidents, fire and opportunities for placing suspicious items, so helping to cut down on false alarms and hoaxes

Contact your local police force and ask for the Counter Terrorism Security Officer for more information.


Your Best Year Ever ~ Part 3

Here are steps 4 and 5 to achieving Your Best Year Ever

Step 4

Now the next part of the process is probably the most exciting because this is were you start building your blueprint for the next 12 months. 

What do you really want in 2009?  What goals really matter?

Lots of people come up with lengthy laundry lists of of vague, wishy-washy resolutions with no real oomph in them. Often we don’t even really care about them at all. They’re just fashionable or what we think we “should” care about, or based on what we think other people expect of us.

 What do I mean? You know, resolutions like this:

  I’ll cut our overheads
  I’ll be more focussed
  I’ll be a better ____ (parent/boss/friend/spouse), etc
  I’ll clear our overdraft
  I’ll do more to bring in new business

Unclear statements like this can NEVER engender any real enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, they’re far more likely to cause you to feel bad rather than good because they all focus on something that’s MISSING rather than on what’s truly desired.

The goals that you need to be setting need to be SMART.  You are probably already familiar with the idea of smart goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound.  Click here for a more detailed article on SMART goals.  But a couple of areas I would stress are:

That your goals need to be specific. Describe in specific detail exactly what it is that you want to achieve. 

They also need to be expressed in the present tense as if now; as if you already had the goal, and each goal needs a precise time: day, date, month and year, and in some cases it might even be a time of day. 

It is also too easy to set resolutions or goals in some areas which are not then compatible with other areas for life.  For example people often set very ambitious goals for their business, which then conflict with personal goals.  So when setting goals for the coming year it is a good idea to look at all areas of life. Business and career, Personal development, Family, Possessions & things that you want , Spirituality, Relationships or personal relationships, Health and fitness and Financial.  Those aren’t in any particular order of importance and ideally you’ll want to have goals in every single area of life. 

So now what I want you to do is take some time, (this is probably the lengthiest part of this process) and literally dream, literally brainstorm what are all the things that you want to achieve in all those areas over the next 12 months.  At this point don’t worry if your goals are realistic or achievable or not; just brainstorm.  Play with the idea, focus your energy and attention on it until it’s clear and sharp and big enough to be exciting to you, until you feel great just thinking about it. (It doesn’t matter at all what anyone else might think of it.) What are all the things over the next 12 months you want to be, you want to do, that you want to have in all those areas of life.  The being, the doing and having of which would make the coming year the best year ever.

Now thing about what you need to do to reach these goals?  For each goal outline resources you need, action you need to take and the support you’ll need.

Step 5

So now it is time for you to take action in the doing, the being and the having.  Remember there will always be uncertainty, the coming year will be as uncertain as last year and every year to come will be.  They will always be uncertainty in our lives.  The secret is to act with certainty in everything you have put in your journal. 

Give up the all-or-nothing, only-perfection-will-do approach.

You can’t break a resolution by messing up just once or even several times. Whenever you notice you’ve gone a bit off-course get back on-track by shifting your actions to get you back on course.  Re-visit your Rules for Success.  From this list, what single thing if you did it regularly would make the most difference in helping you achieve your goals?

Keep it simple: Pay attention. If things aren’t working try something different. Correct your course.

Congratulations; you have finished your best year ever process.  Just for a moment consider how much time you have just spent creating the coming year the way you absolutely want it.  My guess is about 1 -2 hours and that is probably 1 – 2 hours more than most people you know have invested in creating the coming year as they want it.  Though also consider with whom you share what you have written in your journal.  For many people the best time to discover what your goals are is when they see you achieve them.

Good luck and best wishes for YOUR BEST YEAR EVER


Your Best Year Ever ~ Part 2

Here are steps 2 and 3 to help you achieve your best year ever

Step 2

So, yes, some things fell through the cracks. Take a look at that, too, without the drama

So the next part of the process is to look at the last 12 months and this time look at what you set out to achieve but you haven’t achieved yet.  The goals that you set but haven’t actualised yet in reality.  And again take some time to make a list of all of these things, things that you wanted to be, things that you wanted to do, things that you wanted to have over the last 12 months that you haven’t been yet, that you haven’t done yet and that you haven’t had yet.  Have you any outstanding unspoken conversations? What do you regret or feel guilty about? 

List all the ongoing things that bother you and cause you negative energy – however minor. What do you need to do with them: action or let go?  Make a decision one way or the other; how important are these things to you? Are they things that need to be done, or do you put them behind you and stop worrying about them?

Step 3

That probably wasn’t as pleasant as the previous part of the exercise but that is ok we can now extract learnings from what you didn’t achieve so that you can ensure you make the next 12 months different.  So turn to a new page in your journal and put a heading on the top of the page titled ‘Rules for Success’.  What I want you to do is go over all of the things you have achieved over the last 12 months and work out what it was that you did during those times that enabled you to succeed.  What are the rules that if you follow them you succeed.  Then look at the things that you didn’t achieve, what were the rules that you weren’t following that if you had followed them you would have achieved these goals.  By going through the goals that you have achieved and also going through the goals that you didn’t achieve you can put together your personal rules for success, the rules that you know you have already proven that if you follow these rules you succeed.  So take some time now to review the previous year and work on your own personal set of rules for success.

It is a good idea to keep these rules for success somewhere handy, to keep reminding yourself of them.  Then next time when things aren’t going the way that you want you can refer to your rules of success.  I keep mine pinned above my desk as a constant reminder.

Step 4  follows in a few days time.  But if you really cant wait that long you can find the full exercise here.


Your Best Year Ever ~ Part 1

This year, how about taking some time (if you haven’t done so already) to sit alone quietly and reflect on what it is you TRULY WANT to be, do, and have in your life and for your business?

It has been said that by the end of March only about 63% of the people who made New Year resolutions are still making an effort to follow through. Go a few more months and the figure plummets to about 20%.  

So does this mean that making resolutions is just a waste of time?  Is the new year just a time to look forward to a new start on old habits?  Or is it an opportunity to make a fresh start on the things that really matter to you?  Whether it is the start of a new calendar year, the start of a new financial year, or just simply that you want to make a fresh start on any aspect of your life.  The problem may lie more in HOW and WHY we make them than with the idea itself.

 So if you have failed in the past to follow through on your plans and resolutions try this approach instead.

The process will take you around 2 hours, so a bit longer than the average throw away resolution made on New Year’s Eve.  But to me it is time well spent. I recommend you record all this in a journal, or a hardback book, where you can revisit your notes.

So find yourself a quiet space and set aside a couple of hours to plan Your Best Year Ever

Step 1

Let’s start by reviewing the past 12 months.

Most of us have a tendency to view the taking stock process as an opportunity to beat ourselves up and find fault with everything we have NOT accomplished.

Well, enough of that.  Start from a place of power.

This year, give yourself some credit for what you have accomplished! Make a list, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking anything is too small to be significant. In one way or another, in one area or another (and likely in many), you’ve come a long, long way.

So let’s start by reviewing your successes and accomplishments.

So starting from January all the way up to today make a list of all of the things that you have achieved, all the goals that you achieved, any new skills learnt, and burdens you have dealt with.  It doesn’t matter how big the goal was or what area of life it was in write down every single thing you have achieved no matter how small no matter how big.  Month by month list and categorize everything single thing you have achieved in the last 12 months. 

Now let’s take a look at what you have written. I bet you have achieved more over the last 12 months than you thought you did. So notice how good it makes you feel when you look at what you have gone out and done. 

Step 2 follows in a few days time.  But if you really cant wait that long you can find the full exercise here.


Plan next year’s Christmas marketing now!

As your Christmas parties get underway, your marketing for next year is probably the last thing on your mind. But now is a great time to be building up material to use for next year.  What better way to promote your Christmas parties and packages than to show people having fun, and your hotel or restaurant in all its Christmas splendour?

So at the very least, here are some things to do now.

  • Take photos of the bar, restaurant and reception while the decorations and Christmas tree are looking their best – don’t leave it until half the needles have dropped off, or the light bulbs have gone out.
  • Keep an eye out for a clear, frosty morning and get outside with your camera to take some shots of a wintery scene.
  • Take shots from different angles of the restaurant laid up for dinner. Be careful with your lighting and use a tripod for best results. Experiment with and without flash – sometimes it’s better without. ‘Snap shots’ may be OK as small images for your website, but if want to use these bigger images, or for printed material, use a professional photographer to take some quality pictures. And include some pictures of the food. Although this is easier to ‘stage’ at a later date, if you can get some shots now, so much the better.
  • Get some video footage of parties – best when guests have just arrived, and had time to relax with the their first drink, but don’t leave it until the tables are strewn with empty glasses. Always check with guests that they are happy for you to record, and secondly for the footage to appear on your site.
  • Ask guests for feedback so you can learn from them what worked well, and what they didn’t like, so you can improve on it for next year. Don’t just do this on the night or at the end of their stay, but follow up post event.  If there is anything they didn’t like they may be reluctant to tell you there and then in front of other guests.
  • Following up now helps to develop your relationship, and increases your chances of repeat business either during the year or next Christmas.
  • Ask people for testimonials that they would be happy for you to use in next year’s marketing.
  • Keep tabs on your costs throughout to ensure your have an accurate picture of your profit margins.  This includes post costing for each event, to take account of wastage.
  • Get feedback from your team, and involve them in the review process by asking for their ideas.
  • Take stock at the end of the season, and learn from your successes and failures to build on this for next year – and make sure you record all this where you can find it easily when it comes to planning next year!