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  • Writer's pictureKevin Cape

Will your 2023 be any different than years past? Here's a 4-part test to find out.

2022 is over and 2023 has many of us hopeful – but given what we know about ourselves as flawed humans, we’re wise to ask: How can we ensure our hope is built on a worthy foundation? How have years past started? And how have they ended?
If you’ve found that the same cycle of hope and exhaustion continues to haunt you, we’ve developed this 4-part test to predict the chances that this year will be any different. And to relieve your anxieties before you even begin, here’s a bit of good news for you: if you fail this test, you can invest a bit of work to change your answers and make 2023 more successful than years past.

The test is simple. Answer “yes,” to all 4 of these questions, and you’re in for a great 2023. A “no,” on any one leaves high odds that this trip around the sun ain’t gonna be any different.

1. Have I written down and published what a successful year for me and my team looks like?

This is best done with a version of storytelling used by many of the greats. Amazon uses elaborate fictional press releases, Zingerman’s uses something akin to fictional journaling called Visions of Greatness, and the exceptional leadership model, conductor, and author Ben Zander has his students craft a more personal version called “Giving Myself an A.” Whatever means you use, what’s important is that if you got hit by a bus tomorrow, your team would have read (and ideally, contributed to) a clear, robust picture of success that they could carry on in your absence (but please do still look both ways when crossing the street this year).

2. Is this document easily accessible to my team, and can they instantly pull it up if I spontaneously walk up to their desk and ask them to?

Ah, New Year’s resolutions time, that magical period of the year where we make proclamations about how we’ll change, and never take seriously the discipline of returning to them. For the purposes of this test, too many businesses fail to ensure that the visions, missions, values, goals and plans they write are easily accessible and habitually referenced over time. So pick an easy-to-navigate to spot on your wiki or in your Google Drive, and link that baddie into every team meeting agenda, ensuring it has some dedicated time and programming committed to reviewing it.

3. Do we all have agreement on – and commitment to – a precise schedule for reviewing our accountability to progress towards it?

What’s even better than baking it into existing agendas? Give this document its own meeting. It doesn’t have to be long, and it doesn’t even need to include much discussion. Make sure there’s a dedicated system of tracking, and update it together for 20 minutes every other week. Make this the most important single leadership and management function of your business. Done right, it’s only gonna cost you one business day per year.

4. Is there one single owner responsible for ensuring #3 happens as scheduled?

Ideally this owner is you, but if you already know you can’t trust yourself with boring discipline and consistency (a good many visionary founders struggle with this!), choose your most trusted lieutenant and build the consistency of #3 into their annual performance review, ideally at the very top.

Have yourself four “yesses” across the board? Congrats, I can’t wait to high five you in 12 months. Any of these a “no?” Get that fixed this week. Set a calendar reminder with yourself and protect that time to make the changes, or, click this link to see if you qualify for a free consultation, and we’d be happy to help you design a system that handles all this (and more) so you can scale your business and get your life back.
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