Craft Your 2021 Action Plan
By Phyllis Ehrlich
Group Vice President, Spectrum Reach
As we approach the end of a year of crisis, we all hope 2021 will bring vaccines and an end to the pandemic. One of the things that’s kept many of us sane and busy is our daily work. Now is the time to plan for a productive and rewarding professional year ahead. Here’s how to get started.
IDENTIFY BRIGHT SPOTS
Begin by thinking about bright spots in the midst of our new normal. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What newly found skills have I developed?
- What did I learn about myself?
- What insights did I gain?
For example, many of us have quickly become experts at working and communicating virtually, whether using Webex, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Through much trial and error, I’ve learned the best lighting (windows and light in front of you and a must-have ring light) and positioning from the camera (close but not too close). A major accomplishment for me was giving my first virtual keynote speech via Zoom, which required much practice to appear natural and conversational. Honing your presentation skills will enhance your communication of ideas, thoughts and business scenarios.
In the absence of casual in-person conversations, I also learned the importance of staying connected to my team members, colleagues, and people in my professional network through virtual fun events, Happy Hours, video chat and good old-fashioned phone calls. Helping others can give you an emotional boost.
TURN REFLECTIONS INTO ACTION
Now turn those insights into your 2021 action plan:
- What new skills should you acquire?
- What existing skills can you bolster for next year?
- What strengths can you enhance?
For example, become Google Analytics certified or take an online class in presentation skills. If you are a social media whiz, stay on top of the latest platforms and significant tools that are being used in business every day. I am currently exploring teleprompter apps to continue to perfect my virtual presentation and speaking skills.
In your current role, consider the following to craft your own 3-5 job goals:
- How has COVID changed your business/industry?
- What impact will paradigm shifts in consumer behavior have?
- When are you are at your BEST at work; how can you double down on whatever that is?
Focus on developing SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely) that will keep you current, relevant and ahead of the curve to your business, your boss and yourself.
If you are currently looking for a job or want to pursue new opportunities, concentrate on ways to maximize virtual networking. For example, send holiday greetings/Happy New Year messages, and then follow up in January suggesting a winter catch-up chat.
Review and tweak your action plan every month or quarter, and hold yourself accountable to your priority goals. Feel free to share your plan with your family, friends, or a trusted colleague for their input and additional ideas. Finally, in this challenging time for all, make sure to add in a daily commitment to kindness — the biggest commodity of 2021 and beyond.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and safe holiday and New Year!