5 Steps to Achieving Success

Everyone wants success. I am going to give you a 5 step approach to achieving success and building value. The secret starts with creating a vision for what you want to achieve. The 5 steps necessary to achieve success are:

  1. Create a Vision for Success
  2. Set Objectives
  3. Develop a Strategy for Making it Happen
  4. Build Action Plans
  5. Evaluate Performance
 Following these 5 steps and documenting them are essential to keep your life or your business on track. It doesn’t need to be a complicated process, in fact, the simpler the better. Putting these steps into a written document is essential. This helps you build the commitment necessary to convert the vision for success into reality.
 
  1. Create a Vision for Success
 A mission statement should be brief and focused. It can be nothing more than a few words or phrases that provide a description of how you define success for you and your business. It should become a living document about where you’re headed going down the road. When you define where you are going you have a better chance of getting there.
 
Your vision statement should spell out where you plan on going and the steps needed to get there. This provides the link with between goals and objectives necessary for achieving the desired level of success. The best vision statements are simple and straight forward. Keep the statement simple and spell it rather that just thinking about it. Writing the vision versus thinking about it is can be the difference between success and failure.
 
  1. Setting Objectives
 After establishing a vision for success, the next step is setting goals and objectives. These goals and objectives will be based on the vision statement, assessing current performance, and the major issues that need to be addressed. You will have to determine how they relate to your strategy and what action is needed to accomplish your objectives.
 
Objectives should specify measureable results that need to be accomplished together with a target date and a time span for completing them. Objectives should be as specific and quantitative (measurable and verifiable) as possible. Development of objectives should specify only what needs to be accomplished and when. They should not venture in to the why and how. Objectives and goals should relate directly to crafting a strategy to achieve your objectives.
 
  1. Develop a Strategy to Make it Happen
 Strategy corresponds to the actions and approaches necessary to achieve your objectives and fulfill your vision. The components of strategy include deciding on those attributes which offer the best chance to achieve your objectives. Strategy is where you focus on the skills, expertise, and competitive capabilities that will set you apart from your rivals.
 
Strategy is about being different in contrast to something that everyone is doing. It boils down to making the tough choices that create a sustainable competitive advantage. These choices are those that allow you to change the rules in your favor.
 
  1. Build Action Plans
 Action plans are more specific and clearly identifies what needs to happen. They represent an opportunity to test and validate your objectives. In addition, they provide a basis for communication to others who need to contribute to or will be affected by your action plans.
 
The following basic components should be part of your plan development. First, document the specific steps that will be required. Next, identify the people who will be held accountable for making sure that each action step is completed. Developing a timetable for getting things done is essential. Also, determine what resources will be needed to achieve your objectives. Finally, create a feedback mechanism to monitor progress.
 
Documentation provides a basis for monitoring progress of each action step. Include this documentation into a schedule that spells out what needs to get done and when.
 
  1. Evaluate Performance
 “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is a term frequently associated with achieving results. Monitoring and evaluating performance is essential if your vision is to become reality. It might be necessary to reevaluate your strategy depending on how things are working out. Assessing the financial impact is essential in determining if you are achieving the level of expected results. Regularly evaluate your resources. Do you have everything in terms of personnel, materials, information, and other resources to support your vision and strategy? After establishing the vision, the strategy, objectives, and action plans, it is essential to monitor the few vital factors that let you know whether or not you are on track or if modifications are necessary. If things aren’t working as planned, take action to alter your plans.
 
Final Thoughts
 
When you are creating a vision it is essential to document it into writing. Written goals and objectives are more likely to be accomplished. Make this a habit and I think you’ll start to see success. Written plans represent the commitment that translates into success.
 
Check www.northrupcpa.com/blog for more of my blog posts.

This blog

Lynn Northrup, CPA, CPIM - Lynn's focus is on building business value for both family-owned businesses and other CPAs. I also specialize in lean accounting, process improvement, internal control, and assessment of audit risk. Other accomplishments include publishing two books, development of self study programs for Bisk Education, and an Adjunct Professorship at Villanova University. My wife Jessica and I live in southwestern Colorado and we look forward to contributing to the AccountingWEB community.

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