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#454: Get Yourself a (Small Apartment) Kitchen Cabinet

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, December 9, 2010
Updated: Thursday, December 9, 2010
I consider myself a disciplined professional but my New Year's resolutions for my business last year didn't get as much traction as I had hoped. What can I do to get back on track and execute these well?

This is a common problem, even among those of us who consider ourselves experienced professionals. Consider two aspects of what may well be a complex problem.

First, recall what your "plan" looks like. Did you write it down? Really? All of us have general ideas of what we expect to accompish in the next year. Fewer of us have written down specific near-term objectives and tied them to our overall business goals. Still fewer have explicitly linked those objectives with clear strategies and action plans. Find a middle ground, Plans that are too vague (or not written down) or too specific (the complex ten-page business plan for a small firm) are hard to execute.

Second, some perspective and external discipline is always valuable. Many business books recommend convening a "Kitchen Cabinet" of your accountant, lawyer, banker, financial advisor, and several others in similar consulting practice areas as you. Defining, convening and sustaining such an effort is often so difficult, however logical, that few ever do it. The objective is to get points of view different from yours, not points of view from everyone who could weigh in. The concept is good, but think in terms of a very small kitchen.

Tip: Identify two people who know you and your business. Ask them to look over your (1-2 page) plan and offer you some comments and suggestions. Ask them whether they think you have forgotten something or overlooked an opportunity. Finally, ask them if they would be willing to meet with you over lunch (your treat) in six months and at year end to go over your progress.  You may find that this provides to discipline you need to (1) get your objectives and strategies into simple terms, and (2) provide you with someone else, however informally, to look over your shoulder and help keep you on track.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  advice  guidance  learning  planning  practice management  your consulting practice 

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