Friday, January 16, 2004

Make them stick: Turn resolutions into goals

Business Times p.B8
Friday, January 16, 2004

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Make them stick: Turn resolutions into goals

WHY do you forget your New Year's Resolutions soon after you celebrate the Feast of the Three Kings? Because these resolutions are mere fantasies or inclinations, e.g. I will never be late for any appointment again, I shall lose weight, I shall double my sales income this year, etc.

To make your resolutions stick, you need to turn them into goals and commit your will and all your resources to achieving them. Let's move on to the final set of your "new me" resolutions toward becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Do business in the present. The future will take care of itself. After all, you've done your homework and laid strong foundation for your business.

Stay focused on the truly important things in your business. It is easy to get sidetracked these days. Just read your newspapers and watch opinion and news shows on TV. The coming elections is diverting attention from the business core to current political circus.

Learn at least one new skill this year. Interviewing business executives and human resources professionals, Ben Liboro and his Executive Development Group of the Lopez Group of Companies have identified at least 76 competencies for managerial and leadership effectiveness.

Some of these are: communicate in the language of business, written communication, presentation skills, negotiation, coaching/mentoring, conceptual thinking, systems thinking, sense of humor, innovation, computer savvy, urbanity, planning, stress management, project management, project finance, managing diversity, risk-taking, social responsibility and facilitating among others.

Entrepreneurship is both learning and innovating and is a lifelong journey. And the journey has long begun with your first cry that announced your coming and which you later learned to use to summon attention in your first two years on earth. You've learned a lot more and have come a long way, but the journey goes on especially now that you have chosen to become an entrepreneur.

Travel light. Simplify your life. There is no such thing as your separate business, social, spiritual, family and other lives. You have one life; however, you interact with different people in different environments and contexts. No need to bring into your life a lot of extras, accessories, airs and "just in case" things. Just be yourself and enjoy being you.

Carrying a lot of things in your person weighs you down and tires you easily. Trying to be everything to everybody saps your energy and stretches your resources unduly. Focus on what you really need and pare down your wants. Get rid of left-overs.

Forget and forget. To quote the book, If I really Wanted to Simplify My Life, I would: "The secret to avoiding a lifetime of frustration and an old age marked by bitterness is simple don't hold unto hurts and offenses. Holding a grudge can cause you to doubt the sincerity of others, avoid getting close to people, overact to perceived slights, and become irritable, petty, and paranoid. Life is too short to hold a grudge."

Quash intrigues and rumors immediately. Intrigues can kill your team spirit. Intrigues are divisive and counterproductive. These are machinations of people who have nothing better to do and could only rise from the ashes of others. These are manipulations to grab power and put forward personal agendas. Set things right as soon as you can. Particularly, kick out organization leaders who sow intrigues aimed at their own subordinates.

On the other hand, intrigues, rumors and gossips could be smoking guns of more serious organizational maladies in your business backyard. Listen, analyze, identify the problem and solve it. Refuse to be involved in office politics. Engage everybody to focus on your organizational vision, mission, values and goals.

Eliminate noise in your environment. These are not just typical noise such as loud chatters, machine clatters and environmental sounds such as cars honking and road rage. They make concentrating on work difficult. What can you do? Create a silent zone. Play soothing music. Ask your employees to tone down conversations. Replace old, rickety machines. Use sound barriers.

This noise could also be the racket inside you. What's going on in your head, your heart and your psyche. What's troubling you? What's making you cranky? Do something or simply forget it.

Keep track of your receivables. It is hard enough to make a sale, but having made one, make sure that you recover your capital and earn some. Think about cost of money.

Listen carefully. 50 percent of communication is listening. Experts say that we communicate using words, tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. How do you listen? Listen with your ears and eyes. Uncross your arms and legs, lean forward, keep your mouth shut, cock your ears, open your eyes and look at the person speaking. Think before you speak.

Go for depth over breadth. Make the most and get the best of whatever you have. Exploit your limited resources to the fullest. Dig deep into your potentials. Don't be a Jack of all trade, master of none.

Identify your strategic driver, define it, focus on it. Develop your core competencies, cultivate customer loyalty and be the best that you could be in whatever you do. You are not running a popularity contest; you are in business to earn profit.

Gold, silver and many precious natural resources are found not on the surface, but mostly in the depths of the earth.

Take a scenic route home. At the end of the day, you deserve a leisurely and pleasurable trip home. Before you leave your office, plan for the next day. You don't need to solve all problems immediately, just plan on what you want to do about them next day. Then forget about your work for a while.

On your way out, smile and say some nice words to your security guards who will watch over your business while you sleep in peace. Take the long route through less traveled back roads and drive leisurely.

Watch the faces of children at play. Stop by for some energizing music of JYC & the Jukebox at Bykes Café in Pasong Tamo on Thursdays. Take a stroll along the Roxas Boulevard Baywalk or the boardwalk behind the Luneta Grandstand. Visit a chapel or church and whisper your gratitude to Him. Stay out of malls and other crowded places.

Listen to Christmas carols and prayer songs in your car CD player and arrive home relaxed, smiling and raring to interact with your family. To quote FPHC executive Bon Asis: "Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway."

Moje Ramos-Aquino believes that making New Year's resolution is better than not making one. Better to have a target and miss than shoot aimlessly. Her email address is

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