Make 2018 YOUR year

new-year-2018You made it to the end of 2017. Go you!

How do you feel? Joyous, celebratory, reinvigorated? How about tired, frustrated, exasperated? If you’re like most people, it’s a bit “all of the above.”

For most people, 2017 concludes a year of successes and failures. That’s normal. The bigger question is, “Now, what?” How do you keep your positive momentum going and shake off the times that weren’t that great? It’s time to dust off your “PLN,” your Personal Learning Network.

It’s time to reconnect with those that share your passions, and understand what it’s like when success was thisfaraway. It’s time to bring out the planner, and think about what you will accomplish in 2018. As with anything, it’s about understanding where you want to be.

Here’s a quote from Alice in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where – ”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

This quote epitomizes goal planning. If you don’t care about the end result, then meander away. If you
do care, about your business, your department, and yourself; then you will begin with the end in mind –
and it should start with a collaborative effort between you, your team and/or your PLN.

Where to start?
In my last post, I talked about the “Training Question Manifesto for 2018,” which was geared towards
discovering the real needs of the business and learning programs. How do you apply the same level of
questioning for yourself to discover your true priorities? In the business world, we call those type of
priorities, BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goals – goals that test us, that take us outside of our comfort
zones, and that make us a tad uncomfortable.

This is why collaborating with your PLN is essential. Your PLN will help you plan goals that won’t allow
you to sit comfortably. They will make sure that your goals are uplifting and not defeatist. They will
ensure your goals are structured and support positive outcomes, and lastly, they will make sure your
goals fit into the big picture and are not simply checklists, they are goals that lift you.

Building your 2018 plan

Part One: With your PLN, create a priority grid. Taking a sheet of paper, complete the following:

  1. Create 4 quadrants: Each one reflecting a BHAG. Yes: “Nurturing a social learning environment
    within the organization.” No: “Learn advanced PowerPoint Techniques.”
  2. Within each quadrant, create 4 more quadrants. Label each of those as follows:
    – To do now: What do I need to do now to begin to bring goal to life?
    – To do long term: What needs to be planned?
    – Barriers to success: What road blocks are going to get in my way?
    – Habits I need to develop to support the goal: What bad habits do I need to break, what good habits do I need to develop?
  3. Complete each quadrant. Keep in mind this is an overview document. No one is asking to you plan to take over the world at this stage.

Part Two: Get your PLN together on Slack, Skype, Zoom, Facebook or the local coffee shop. Book this
time in your calendar as sacrosanct – this time does not get touched. This planning stage is critical to
keeping any momentum moving from 2017 to 2018.

  1. Everyone shares their grids. Plan to give people a chance to reflect and review. Because of this,
    you may not want your groups to be larger than 4 people.
  2. Give feedback. Ask deep questions.
    1. How will this action support the larger the goal?
    2. Is this action addressed at the right time? Maybe it’s important, but not important now.
    3. Do you have the tools and resources to make needed action items successful?
  3. Have a serious conversation about habits. Both bad habits and good habits.
    1. How can you support each other?
    2. What tools are used to keep on track?
  4. How will you record quick wins with each other? Tracking and publicizing successes throughout the year will keep you from feeling dispirited during those low times.

Part Three: Adjust your plan

  1. Take the feedback received and adjust the plan accordingly. There is always room to flex and
    adapt. This is how we improve and move forward.
  2. Create your larger plan. Use a free tool like Trello, Asana, or OneNote
  3. Share your larger plan with your PLN.
  4. Plan update meetings – hold each other accountable (in a fun way, not in a performance
    management way – YUCK).

There you have it. The short story on getting up and getting stuff done for 2018 – but before I leave you,
a short word about PLNs. Anyone can be in your PLN. If they help you grow, learn and evolve as a
person and learning professional they should be part of your elite group. You might even have several
PLNs that support you in different areas. I have groups that help me with my business in general, others
that help me with specific areas of work and life. Don’t have one – now is a great time to start. Find
three people who share your passions and set up a group.

The key is to remember the quote from above. Where do you want to go? Then, bring the right people
along for your journey.

I’d love to know your tips for beginning the New Year on the right foot. Share your ideas below.

Here’s to a happy and successful 2018!