Start sketching this plan with the following question: If, a year from now, I can say that the business had a fantastic year, what has occurred? When you answer this, make sure that you reference specific progress on at least 2 of the following: finances, market share/growth, product/services, talent, infrastructure. These are your goals, at the highest levels.
A statement like, "We're the #1 widget seller in the state with the best team ever," is not specific enough. "We've broken the $3M mark and have a more solid, committed team I feel confident in," is much better.
Then identify the 3-5 critical rocks to meet these goals. (If you're not familiar with the "rock" reference, take 3 minutes to watch this video.) Using the example above, the rocks might be:
If you are the business owner, it is equally important to define what would indicate your personal success, because you and the business are inextricably linked. Own this. Ask yourself, "If, a year from now, I can say that I had a fantastic year, what has occurred?" Especially for this question, less can be more. Often, 1 goal here can provide considerable room for work. Perhaps a fantastic year for you may be indicated by having a better relationship with your spouse, or feeling like you did your very best as a parent. Or maybe it's taking up a new activity or hobby. Don't worry about whether your success indicator is good enough by other people's standards. Be honest with yourself about what needs to happen for you to feel like you had a great year.
Now, take a hard look at the what you've made note of so far. Do your goals support one another? Be honest. Can you really achieve doubling your growth while increasing your time with family, or reigniting a hobby? Stretching is fine. Stretching to the point of snapping somewhere is not fine. Don't create your own hell. Be honest with yourself and make smart decisions now about what you set out to do.
Now that you know your high-level business goals and the most critical rocks that must be addressed, and your personal goals fit with these, you are ready to involve others. Engage your team in discussions about your goals and rocks for the business in the coming year. How do these match what they see? What are strategies and milestones for taking care of the rocks?
For your personal goal(s), talk with someone about what you want for yourself, and how you will pursue it. This could be your partner or spouse, business coach, your peer group, a trusted colleague...anyone who you value and who you will feel some quiet pressure from to step up and deliver on this goal. (If you want more on how to achieve behavioral change, check out Change Anything. Its counsel is applicable in the work and non-work realms.)
When you are clear in your head about your priorities, and you clearly communicate these, it is nothing short of amazing to see the increase in results and decrease of stress that emerges.
Take time now to find your clarity. Get help from a facilitator if you need to. And go forth with the confidence that clarity brings you.