28 12 2012

new-years-resolutionsEvery year is the same; depending on which survey you read somewhere over 70%, 80% or even 95% of all New Year’s Eve resolutions are doomed to fail. Where will yours stack up in that statistical pile? 

Here are a few tips to ensure this year your resolution becomes reality.

Here at Cowan Global we spend our time helping businesses and third sector organisations become successful by helping them be better at strategy. This means not only better at delivering strategy but in establishing challenging but achievable targets to pursue in the first place.

And every year, where so many organisations fall short of their potential (and even fail), most of the population follow. Every year people set targets (aka New Year’s Resolutions) they have absolutely no chance of delivering.

Key to your being successful in whatever you resolve to do in 2013 is to be smarter when you set your target now. By smarter, I mean SMARTER because it is an acronym you can test your resolution against:

S stands for specific. If you aren’t specific about what you want to achieve how can you honestly know when you have succeeded? “I want to lose weight,” simply won’t cut the mustard; “I want to lose half a stone” will. It is specific so that you know what it is you are setting out to achieve.

M stands for measurable. You need to be able to measure progress or you risk losing motivation. “I want to get fitter,” is a laudable aim but is hard to measure. “I want to be fit enough to run 10km without stopping” puts a measure on it and you can tick off 1, 2, 3, 4 and more kms as landmarks along the way to help keep you motivated.

A stands for agreed. If you are involving other people, they must all agree or you will fail. Beyond that people have a penchant for setting resolutions they think others will be impressed by instead of setting targets for themselves. Put another way, your resolution must be something that, deep inside, you agree you can and will pursue, you must agree your resolution with yourself! Half-hearted = half-arsed = doomed to fail.

R stands for realistic. You will know people (you might be one of them) who have big, often alcohol driven dreams every December 31st who wake on 1st January to realise there is no way on God’s earth they will achieve their resolution and it bites the dust before it sees its first sunset. Unrealistic can mean plain crazy (eg I’m going to swim the Atlantic using butterfly) or ill-conceived such as committing to hit the gym for two hours every day when you know that work and family commitments will make one hour every other day far more realistic.

T stands for time-phased. In short; give yourself a deadline and, if it is a large undertaking give yourself some time-phased check points along the way. So, if you are going to run to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro for charity it might be wise to have some progressive targets along the way as you prepare.

E stands for exciting. Does achieving your resolution excite you? If yes, great; if no, bin it and get another because if you aren’t excited by it now the further we get into 2013 the less you will be motivated to achieve it and that will lead to only one thing – failure.

R stands for recorded. Not just a record for yourself but a public record to which you agree to be accountable. This might be as simple as telling your friends you are going to raise over £1000 for your favourite charity or it might be sharing your progress towards fitness, weight loss, giving up smoking or whatever else on a public blog. By recording what your resolution is you make yourself accountable for failure.

There are other acronyms you can employ. If you are aiming to improve at something you already do try CRAMP. Your resolution will need to be Challenging but Realistic, Agreed and Measurable not forgetting Performance orientated. Of course, if you forget to make it Measurable it becomes something else altogether!

Whether SMARTER, CRAMP or February wash out, thank you for reading the Cowan Global Blog during 2012, I’m looking forward to writing more in 2013 and hope you will join me then.

Have a great time on New Year’s Eve; see you the other side!

Clough Taylor LogoIf you are looking for a great charity run (or walk) to make your resolution target, why not consider the Clough Taylor People’s Run on 10th March? Organised by social enterprise People’s Events (of whom I am Chairman) and supported by Cowan Global, the event is a 10km run (or walk) around the historic Donington Park motor racing circuit in memory of two great men, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, and in support of some fantastic causes. Every participant gets a free T-shirt and every finisher a commemorative medal. For more details click here.

© Jim Cowan, Cowan Global Limited, December 2012

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17 11 2011

Guest Blog by Beverley Corson, owner of ‘Future Inspired Business Owner’.

Future Inspired are one of Cowan Global’s partners in the Branduin Business Support Network. Owner Beverley is widely recognised as an expert in leadership training and is also noted for producing informative and entertaining blogs on the subject.

We were especially tickled by this one and asked Beverley if she would mind us sharing with readers of Cowan Global Blog:

The definition of Procrastination is pretty simple – it’s when you put off essential tasks until a later time, sometimes indefinitely!   Often essential tasks are done instead of the more critical ones.

How often do you focus on something like going through your emails rather than the more critical stuff like calling a potential customer?  Or if you are going through a particularly difficult time you may take this to the extreme and be doing anything but work to avoid the really critical things you must do!!!!

The effects of procrastination may not be so simple and it could be one of the biggest challenges you will have to overcome to succeed and grow your business.

Before I say any more check out this hilarious video by Ellen Degeneres on procrastination………………………

Isn’t that funny….how do you see yourself in that?  Isn’t it good to laugh about it!

For some reason we have an emotional reaction when we have to do something we don’t want to do, don’t enjoy doing, or are convinced we simply cannot do.  As a small business owner you are likely to have to do many things you don’t want to do, don’t enjoy doing, or are convinced you can’t do, so it’s not a surprise if you procrastinate.

What areas do you procrastinate the most?

A little bit of self-analysis in this area is really useful.  Really self-evaluating and questioning your feelings and actions around a task is the first step to stop procrastinating and behaving more proactively in the areas that most significant to your success.

Procrastination will be no more common than in sales and new business development.  This is an area that many business owners don’t want to do, don’t enjoy doing, or are convinced they can’t do.  Even when you have a huge amount of experience in sales like me, you can still fall into this trap.  But we don’t have to stay there!

Watch out for my blogging series next week on 3 mistakes business owners make in generating more customers – all are linked to procrastination.

AND sign up for a free webinar all about stopping procrastination to generate more customers CLICK HERE

If you aren’t already on my mailing list then do register in the top right hand box to receive the invitation to this and future inspiring webinars.

Finally, do share this with others as this is clearly a really pertinent area for many business owners out there.



© Beverley Corson, Future Inspired Business Owner, November 2011

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21 10 2011

I received this ‘article’ via email earlier today and found it amusing. So, in amongst all the serious blogging, I thought I would share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Oxford University researchers have discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (symbol=Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.  These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pillocks.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganisation in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration.

This hypothetical quantity is referred to as a critical morass. When catalysed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (symbol=Ad), an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as many pillocks but twice as many morons.

Author Unknown (if you know the author please let me know so he/she can be correctly credited)

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