This time of year is always a good time for reflection. Generally, there is a flurry of activity to prepare for end of year reviews, time to take stock of achievements and consider the things that didn’t come to fruition. The focus of this is centred around the past, which is important, but how could you use it to be more effective in 2018?
Often, in commercial organisations, little focus is given to next year’s objectives at the end of the previous year. 2017 is gone and forgotten. There is an attitude that says 2018 requires a clean slate. I know of organisations who have not agreed goals and objectives until well into the second quarter of the new year. Talk about being on the back foot!
Why is goal setting so important?
For me, when I set goals, even something as simple as writing a to do list, it provides focus. I love the sense of achievement when I tick things off the list. Without a goal, I am easily distracted and often engage in tasks that are unproductive and fruitless. When we consider something as generic as a weekly food shop, evidence shows that those who make lists tend to spend less money, purchase fewer frivolous items and spend less time in the supermarket.
Setting personal and professional goals are no different than creating a to do list or a shopping list.
A year ago, a good friend of mine said she had always wanted to spend Christmas in Australia with her cousins. She felt nervous about travelling so far, guilty for leaving her father and siblings at such an important family time, concerned about how she would pay for such an adventure and excited about embarking on something solo. These are emotions we can all relate to when we consider goal setting, whether they are personal or professional. Emotions often stand in our way, however, they can equally provide the drive to push harder.
Setting a goal provides motivation, something to work towards.
Setting a goal which is shared makes us more accountable.
As human beings, we are more likely to achieve things when others are informed and involved; consider the success of slimming clubs for example.
Goal setting in Key Account Management (KAM), is exactly the same. Agreeing account goals and individual goals within that, provides structure for the account team. Sharing these, and capturing them within the account plan ensures that we are accountable. It means we have a focal point for our activities and resource allocation. It also means that we can demonstrate our progress in the account. Goals should not centre around sales and activity.
You should consider both qualitative and quantitative goals in the context of KAM.
At this time of year, business generally starts to quieten down in preparation for a well needed break. It is a great time for account teams to review their progress against account goals. It is also a perfect opportunity to have conversations with external stakeholders. What worked well? What didn’t work so well? What could we do differently as a team? What could I do differently as an individual? How could we stretch ourselves as a team even further? How could I stretch myself?
Consider the emotions my friend experienced when thinking about her dream trip to Australia. Do your goals make you feel slightly uncomfortable? Well, they should… I am not suggesting that you should generate stress, but you should put some stretch into your goals. Where is the satisfaction in attaining something that you can do easily? How will you develop yourself if you only set goals to achieve the same as last year?
When putting stretch into your goals, be realistic.
If you ran 5k in 30 minutes this year, it is unrealistic to set a goal of running 5k in 12 minutes next year, unless you are Kenenisa Bekele!
The benefit of being part of a cross functional account team, is that you can set team goals as well as individual goals. You can encourage each other, motivate, challenge and support as you stretch your ambitions.
My definition of KAM is a way of working effectively together to manage resources to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient, external stakeholder and the organisation. You should put this at the centre of your goal setting activity. Be honest in your reflections of 2017, in the context of this definition, and discuss with the account team how you can do things differently in 2018.
One qualitative goal that works well for KAM is to assess quality of cross functional working.
Some of the questions you can use to help you measure this are:
- Do we have role clarity? Do we all know what each other can and should be doing to support the account?
- Do we communicate effectively and regularly? Not just ad hoc phone calls or emails…. Are there regular face to face meetings with the entire cross functional team in the same room with an equal share of voice?
- Are we all clear on our individual role within the account team? Is there any overlap?
- Do we have clear and timely actions at an individual level which support our overall account goal?
- How do we hold each other accountable?
- Is everyone pulling their weight? If not, is there a process in place to address any inequalities?
- Are all of the available resources for the account used with greatest impact?
- How do other account teams behave? Are they doing anything differently that is more effective?
- Do our external stakeholders have a positive experience from us as an account team?
- Are we aligned as a cross functional team?
Setting 2018 goals before you leave for the Christmas break will create an enormous sense of relief. You can use those important end of year reflections to build momentum. You can close the door on 2017 and relax, knowing that you have everything in place to hit the ground running in January for a successful 2018. You won’t have any niggling thoughts while you are on holiday, no anxiety about what lies ahead. So when you put your ‘out of office’ on, you really are!
As an aside, my friend arrived in Perth this morning for her Australian Christmas. She focused on her goal, she worked to overcome the emotions that she felt. She sought support from friends and family to help her achieve her goal. She saved money and decided to embrace the adventures of travelling alone. Last time I heard from her, she was sitting at a bar making some new friends. So set those goals and think about where you can be at the end of 2018!
Louise Collins Associates wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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