Depending on when you grew up (I’ll willingly date myself here), you may have played Mad Libs, the paper-based game that asked each player to fill in a series of nouns, verbs and adjectives to complete a story. The result was usually nonsensical and inexplicably hilarious, but this approach also has a place in today’s corporate world.
For all the work we do for colleagues, managers, stakeholders and suppliers, we owe our greatest debt to ourselves. New Year’s resolutions are great, but they tend to be hastily thought up and too amorphous (think “work harder” or “achieve a better work-life balance”) to deliver on. So instead, I’ve put together a New Year’s resolution Mad Lib, one that requires enough details and deadlines to help you hold yourself accountable.
Please take a few minutes to download, print out and complete the following Note to Self for the New Year – it will help you get perspective on 2016 and bring 2017 into purposeful focus.
Closed the book on another year! Like all years, some of it was pretty routine and some quite unexpected. Without a doubt, the highlight of 2016 was when __________. It ended up [suggestions: shifting my priorities/opening a door/spreading the word about my team’s capabilities].
But with 2017 under way, there is no reason to wait for chance or circumstances to bring about such good fortune again. Here is my plan – a detailed list of resolutions – to actively make the coming year highly successful:
I am going to speak with [suggestions: internal stakeholder/non-procurement executive/industry experts/specific suppliers] more often, and I will take the lead on making it happen. I will reach out by __________ [date] and the goal of the conversation will be to __________. I will come to the meeting with two or three questions, all intended to remind me to listen as much as I speak during our time together.
I am going to start [suggestions: having regular face-to-face meetings with __________/working in a common area/booking meetings with strategic suppliers a quarter in advance]. This step will improve my performance and demonstrate that I am taking advantage of every opportunity to carry out the organization’s objectives. By the end of 2017, I will have made more progress with __________ than anyone else on my team.
I am going to stop [suggestions: avoiding __________/dodging supplier calls/doing repeat tasks on autopilot/pretending to read contracts]. Although it is sometimes the easier choice, I’ve never had anything positive come from doing it and, in fact, it draws my time and energy away from more productive activities.
But if I really want to make 2017 a BIG year, I need to add to my own skills and knowledge. I am going to learn about [suggestions: supplier collaboration/robotic process automation/blockchain/the financial supply chain]. I will [suggestions: sign up for a training class/look for webinars to attend/find a LinkedIn group to join/buy a book] by __________ [date – not to exceed the end of Q1].
As I look over my Note to Self so far, I realize that I’m adding a lot to my plate. If I’m going to carry through with my plans, something has got to give! I’m sure I can buy a little time by being more focused and efficient, but that won’t be enough. I am going to better leverage the technology and automation available to me. I’ve been putting off learning how to take advantage of all the functionality of our [suggestions: CLM, SRM, spend analysis] solution. I am going to book two hours in my calendar NOW to get started.
Most important of all, I am not going to let these resolutions get lost in the shuffle of papers and emails 2017 will undoubtedly bring. I am going to hang this somewhere I can see it regularly, checking off milestones as I reach them and, who knows, maybe even adding to my New Year’s resolution in July!
Happy New Year me!