By Kate Camp
While most, if not all, of us made New Year’s resolutions on December 31st, far fewer will carry through on those promises throughout 2012.
Our resolution at the MREB is to help our members have more impact on the business and we’re determined to maintain it through our 2012 initiatives. An article by Forbes Magazine offers 6 tips for attaining your New Year’s resolution. If you’re looking increase the overall strategic impact for the MR function, below are a few tips to help you follow through on your goal.
1. Get Specific
To know where you’re going you first have to determine your current status. It’s hard to write realistic, achievable goals if you’re unclear as to where you currently stand. Having a clear way to measure improvement, and knowing your success will be recognized helps maintain motivation throughout the year.
But what if your current perceived performance and current actual performance differ? The Business Impact Diagnostic can expose areas for improvement and differences in perceived performance across the organization; the report provides a great jumping off point for discussion as to specifically where you want to improve.
2. Write it Down
Formally documenting your goals ensures that you don’t deviate from the original plan as the year goes on. This exercise also forces you to choose specific wording as to your goals rather than keeping them nebulous. Check out the MREB’s new vision statement which outlines our 4 key aims: embedding insights, inspiring innovation, facilitating customer understanding, provoking action.
3. Make Time
We talk all the time about the value of a strategic research portfolio. In an ideal world we’d be able to execute our 2012 agenda exactly as we mapped it out at our initial planning session. Unfortunately, we live in a world where ad hoc requests frequently cross our desk, and we simply don’t have the time or resources to fully commit to all of them.
Make more time for important projects by rejecting low value requests using Norwich Union’s Project Prioritization Scorecard. Using the objective scoring system will both allow you to say no to projects with little strategic value, and educate internal partners as to why these requests don’t make the cut.
4. Move Past Doubt
Worried that your goal is unachievable? Breaking your big goal into bite-size pieces can make it feel more manageable. The MREB has identified 5 skills that are crucial to achieving more strategic impact: insight, consulting logic, influence, communication, and synthesis.
The idea of improving your overall skill set enough to achieve greater business impact can seem daunting; so take it piece by piece. Pick the one skill you think is most challenging and sign up for a 1-hour webinar training session on the topic (or view the previously recorded webinar on our event replay page.) In one hour you’ll have made a solid step of progress towards your ultimate goal.
5. Get a Partner
Getting your objectives accomplished are simply easier when there’s someone to cheer you on, or, in the business world, when you have the support of your peers. While getting that support requires having solid data and logic to back your presentation, winning over colleagues also takes some softer skills.
The MREB has discovered that driving action with business partners depends on engaging both their emotional and rational concerns. As researchers, we tend to be pretty strong in the rational department, but we can sometimes overlook the emotional influencing component. Check out our work on Closing the Researcher Influence Gap to learn how to employ the same relationship skills used by consultants to increase your impact.
6. Be Still
Working hard toward your goal is important, but you don’t want to burn out! So whenever you feel stressed take a little time to engage in an activity you enjoy.
Feel guilty taking some time for yourself at the office? You can have the best of both worlds by linking your fun activity to a work-related topic (for example, check out these past MREB blog posts on the topics of bizarre ways to get ahead, using gossip to your best advantage, and a TV commercial designed for dogs.) They’re all lighthearted, but also relevant to Research.