Don’t Panic, Just Pivot! 6 Ways to Achieve Your Goals by Year End


Don’t stress, there is still time.

There are 83 working days until the end of the year. Take away three weeks for end-of-year holidays and other vacation days, that’s only 68 days remaining to accomplish those goals you set earlier this year!

But before you start to panic, take a deep breath, and let me reassure you, you can do it!

Here are 6 tips for staying cool, calm, and collected so you achieve your goals by the end of this year. Then you’ll be able to enjoy celebrating the new year while taking pride in your accomplishments.

1. Get Real – adjust your goals if necessary. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that we are living in uncertain times. The modern world certainly feels more uncertain than ever before, and this can lead you to question your strategy and the trajectory of your philanthropy. That’s OK. It’s entirely possible that your strategy and goals need some fine-tuning. Now is a great time to rethink the plan you developed earlier this year and determine if course corrections are needed. Whether it’s your strategic plan, your succession plan, or your home remodel plan, ask yourself:

  • What progress, if any, have we made on our goals?
  • What has changed, externally or internally, that would merit adjusting our goals? For example, you’ve had unexpected staff turnover and don’t have the same capacity you had when you created this plan.
  • Do our goals need to change (what we want to accomplish) or our tactics for implementing them (how we will accomplish it)?
  • Do we need to add anything? Stop doing something?
  • Should we rethink our timeline?

After all, achieving your goals should be in alignment with reality!

2. Define your key strategic priorities. Decide what are the key initiatives that will move your organization toward its mission. It may feel like you have a dozen competing priorities, but you can’t do it all. Prioritizing your goals also allows your team to focus and ultimately accomplish what is most important to your overall strategy. Start by asking yourself, what are my top 3 right now? If you are having trouble deciding, ask yourself the following questions:

  • If we can only accomplish ONE thing between now and the end of the year, what would it be? THAT item should be at the top of your list.
  • What is the 20% of effort that will deliver 80% of results? For example, hiring (or firing) someone might catapult your success. Or you might need to identify project partners, decide if your foundation should spend down or exist in perpetuity, or design and launch your next corporate giving initiative.
  • If we achieve our goals by the end of the year, what must be true, and by when? For example, if by the end of the year you want to announce your new strategic plan, what must be true might be: that you need to retain a strategic planning consultant in September, schedule the strategy retreat for early November, and prepare your announcement in December.

3. Designate accountability. Accountability is key to the successful implementation of any strategic plan. And people will only be committed when they’re connected to the organization’s goals. They don’t have a crystal ball, so be sure that your team members are clear on who is responsible for what, and by when. For each high priority, assign “Priority Champions.” These individuals do not need to DO all the work, but they do need to be accountable to achieve the priority. And it’s okay to hold their feet to the fire. Ask each Priority Champion to make a list of the top 5-10 things they need to work on next to achieve their priority and agree on a date – in a few weeks – when they will share their list and what progress they have made. This is not the time for elaborate implementation plans for fancy GANTT charts. You don’t have time for that (you only have 68 days left, remember?!)

4. Make sure it’s on your calendar. What gets scheduled gets done. Be sure to block out time on your calendar to implement your top priorities and achieve your goals. Even if you’re not sure how you will be spending the time, block it out anyway. That way you can be sure to have time to get things done.

5. Choose what NOT to do. Look, I get it. You already have a lot on your plate. This might feel like adding more work. The reality is, there are probably a dozen or more tasks you shouldn’t be doing or that could be delegated. If you are focused on what’s most important, you should not be focused on the other 10 things that you previously thought were needed. To put it bluntly, there’s stuff you need to STOP doing so you have time to accomplish the things that are most critical to achieving your goals. This also becomes mentally freeing! Decide what you can eliminate, delegate, postpone or cut back.

6. Get help. To achieve your goals in the next four months, you may need to bring in reinforcements. That could include delegating work to someone else on your team, hiring new staff, engaging the help of a virtual assistant, retaining an executive coach, outsourcing work to philanthropy consultants, or recruiting more board members. You don’t need to go it alone. And you shouldn’t need to work 60-hour weeks! Putting in the time now to find the right people, tools, or technology to help alleviate some of your lower-level tasks will pay huge dividends in the long run. You will be more apt to achieve your goals, reduce your stress, and find more joy in your work. You might even sneak in a long weekend!

If you need help achieving your goals or determining your next steps, let’s talk! Simply schedule a call with me. On the call we’ll do three things: we can go over everything on your plate, identify your top priorities, and then we’ll create a game plan for achieving them. There’s no pitch at the end of the call, I simply want to help! Schedule a call with me and let’s help you achieve your year-end goals.

© 2022 Kris Putnam-Walkerly. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.

Kris is a sought after philanthropy advisor, expert and award-winning author. She has helped over 90 foundations and philanthropists strategically allocate and assess over half a billion dollars in grants and gifts.

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