7 Steps to Strategic Success in 2015 Email
Colorado Green NOW
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 08:50 PM


7 questions for a successful yearJeffrey Scott, The Leaders, Edge, spoke last month at ALCC’s CEO Exchange in Denver. In this article, he encourages companies to use this time leading up to a new season to gain clarity and direction. His advice is to set your company up for “sweet success” by assessing the past year in broad strokes and then setting your sights on clear, long-term objectives.

Here are Scott’s seven questions to help get yourself and your team focused. Answering these questions as a team can greatly improve your chances for success in 2015! Schedule time ahead – and work together to arrive at the best answers.

1. What were your (your company's) biggest accomplishments in 2014?

Too often we are overly self-critical as human beings. This question therefore allows you to enumerate your successes and build on your strengths. Think about the larger positive impact you have all had on your business, your clients, one another and your personal life where applicable.

2. What did not work well in 2014?

OK, now you can take a high level look at your miss-fires. What did you attempt last year that didn't quite play out as you had hoped? Don't go overboard. Keep your list high level by focusing on the top 3 to 5 miss-fires.

3. What were your high-level key learnings from the past year?

Here is the step most people forget to take when assessing their progress. Reflect on what you learned: both to confirm the positives as well as to use these learnings for future decisions and strategic planning. One company I know recently answered this question by saying that initially that “they learned nothing new” this past year. The year was full of reminders, but nothing brand new. They didn’t dig deep enough. You have dig through the mud and get down to bedrock and virgin soil. If you aren’t learning, you’re dying.

4. For 2015, what are the biggest challenges and obstacles your company needs to overcome?

Rock climbers don't face problems. Rather, they face “more challenging climbs.” What are the biggest challenges that you foresee coming your way this year? A rock climber often can take an easy route by turning one way or a challenging route by taking an alternative direction. What challenges will test your team this coming year, and stretch your learning and growth?

5. What are your company's biggest exciting opportunities in 2015 and beyond?

Now we come to what will drive your passion and success this year. List the most important ones. If your list is long, work on narrowing it to 3 at a minimum and 5 at the most.

6. Write a short letter to yourself: Next year, at this time, how would you paint a picture of great success in 2015?

This letter should be written both in terms of accomplishments and in terms of how it makes you feel. Include specifics about what you have accomplished as well as how success makes you feel.

7. You are about to receive a lifetime achievement award for your remarkable accomplishments, what would that award be for?

This is not necessarily about design awards or installation or service - but rather about you and your professional endeavors. This question is similar to "what your head stone reads after you die" except you get to enjoy this award!! Write it out as a full paragraph stating what the award stands for and what will be read during the ceremony. Having everyone do this exercise will give insights on what each person values. Share what you write with each other – and gain deep insights for a stronger team.

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, former business owner, author and consultant facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners. 

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Cell phone liability extends to employers
Are you using ALCC’s FREE classified ads?
How green is your vision?
Two companies share what they learned from DOL audits