I had the pleasure of speaking at the CEO Clubs this week and we went over the CEO’s 2012 imperatives. We are not talking about the company’s imperatives but rather what are the imperatives for YOU, as a person.
We are not talking about those New Year’s resolutions either – they usually last as long as it takes you to fill in your 2nd or 3rd glass of champagne right after you chanted the count down.
Where would you like to go this year and how will you know when you get there?
Taking a loose approach to setting your personal imperatives may result in not getting what is really yours, as a person.
Let me share a few ideas on how to structure your own 2012 Imperatives.
First, we need to be selfish here for a few moments. Being too selfish is wrong and not enough robs you of the time you need to spend for you. I am not referring to your spouse, your kids, your parents but YOU.
Why set Imperatives?
1) Simply because it works. I have read books and bios of many peak performance authorities – not the evangelists that you make you feel good for 30 minutes then it goes away like a hay fire but authors of substance such as Dale Carnegie, Earl Nightingale and Stephen Covey. Their conclusions are similar. If you take the time put ‘Pen to Paper’ and write them down, you will achieve them. It has worked for me as well as countless leaders I have interviewed.
2) They give you focus. By preparing what you want to achieve it gives you that direction when you are too busy with 100 things that you have to manage. Unconsciously, by setting your imperatives your mind has been programmed to achieve these imperatives and they focus you in that direction. This focus will have benefits for your family and loved ones as well.
3) It rewards you when you have accomplished them.
4) It reduces stress and worry.
5) It avoids you from getting fired! Think of it. If you as a person are structured and have direction this will reflect in your work. Your employer expects you to be focussed but inherently that should also mean that you know where you are going as a person – they are connected.
An easy way to remember what Imperatives should look like. That’s easy too!
They should be SMART:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time bound
Here are time tested steps the make the Imperative setting process easier for you:
1) Find the time to ‘Sit and think’ about your imperatives, without interruptions (SMS, emails, mobile phone, email, staff, etc.). Actually sit down for about one hour and write down what you want to do for yourself in 2012, ex. read 6 books, become financial literate, go the gym 3 times per week, etc.
2) Write it down (WID) on paper!
3) When it comes to the ‘Achievable’ aspect of your imperatives make sure your imperatives are lofty or stretching. Push yourself to the limit.
4) Set as many as you want (ex. 10-2012 imperatives) but again, ‘Realistic’ with the actual description of the imperative & amount of imperatives, i.e. anything over 10 Imperatives is harder to manage.
5) Place them in priority or category once you agree with content.
6) Determine the best way to see/review them weekly or daily (Excel, BB/ iPhone).
7) Determine a scoring method.
8) Rate them on a quarterly basis – rating them too fast or too soon is not good.
9) Don’t be too hard on yourself when you rate yourself. Remember the glass is ‘half full’ attitude will encourage you to reach them, whereas rating yourself as a ‘half empty’ will only discourage you.
10) Reward yourself when you reach one. Buy yourself a Snickers candy bar, go fishing with the boys, go shopping in London with the girls or something that actually rewards yourself – this is important.
Consider that this activity is not difficult, however I challenge you to actually ‘sit and think’ for one hour uninterrupted? When was the last time you did this? It is not only good way to establish one’s imperatives but it’s also a proven method to resolve issues you may be faced with. People don’t sit and think any more since we are bombarded with social media, work, family duties and entertainment.
Given that we are still early in the year, remember:
1) There is no better time to ‘sit and think’ about one ‘s 2012 Imperatives
2) Write it down (WID)
3) Imperatives need to be SMART
4) An investment of only one hour can bring multifold ‘dividends’ on a personal basis for 2012.
My blog has additional details to some of these ideas (see below).
Lastly let me leave you with one final piece of advice.
Don’t bother wondering HOW imperatives work!
The explanation is scientific, metaphysical, spiritual, coincidental, driven by luck, unexplainable, all of these or it’s just eerie. The more you ask yourself how it works the more time you waste: IT JUST DOES!
Perhaps William James summarizes the reason why this process works when he reminds us that the average person develops only 10% of his or her latent mental abilities
‘Compared to what we ought to be we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources.
Stating the thing broadly, human individuals thus live far within their limits. They possess powers of various sorts which they habitually fail to use.’
American Psychologist, Philosopher, Physician and author on concept of pragmatism
(1842 – 1910).
Best wishes for 2012!