I’m a big fan of EOS (or “Traction”) for those who run small businesses. It’s a straightforward, relatively easy to follow methodology for running your business. As someone prone to overthinking things in an effort to “get it right”, the tools in EOS force simplicity wherever possible.
One of the key steps in the EOS methodology is doing some annual planning, to get ready for the next year and start putting the operating plan into place. And, more specifically, to set some targets for what you want to achieve.
Late October/November is typically the time of the year that EOS businesses go offsite for their annual planning retreat, so it’s also the time that I like to starting thinking about what my own year ahead might look like.
For the last three or four years, i’ve been doing a personal version of the annual plan, It looks something like this:
- Reflect back on the year overall: Articulate the the biggest wins, professionally and personally. Articulate some misses. I use the the “I like, I wish, I wonder” method I learned from Hyper Island.
- Financials: Look at the numbers, and make a clear eyed assessment of whether I hit the target or not. The money isn’t really the point. the point is whether I accomplished what I hoped to accomplish or not.
- Values Check: I review my personal values and reflect on whether they’ve changed or not (or how much) over the last year or so
- 10 Year, 3 year Vision – I review my own version of where I hope to be in 10 years and 3 years. I re-read the narrative “from the future”, the story I want to bring to life in 3 and 10 years. I edit/adjust as necessary
- 1 Year plan – I map out the plan for the next year, and focus on 3-5 priorities, the things I want to accomplish. I typically start by doing the Playing Field method I learned from my days at GoKart Labs (RIP). Then, i narrow down the options and pick the 3-5 things I really want to deliver on. I try to make them as specific as I can, so it’s easy to see whether they got “done”.
- My own personal development plan – Then, i build out two or three specific things I want to work on in the next year. I like to focus on “thinking” and “doing”. For instance, in 2022, my “thinking” priorities were to 1) work on being mindful over the course of the day and 2) being aware of when I was confused/uncertain over the course of the day. The “doing” focus was about taking better notes when I’m reading, meeting, or working, so i’ve got a record of my decisions and choices.
This is by no means a bulletproof process and so far the results are mixed about whether it’s really helping me or not. But, I am trusting the process here and trying hard not to out-think what works for so many others.