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Goal Setting for 2022: Are You Ready to Tackle the One-Word Challenge?

Dec. 2, 2021
Focusing on a single intention for the new year can be helpful for leaders pulled in many directions.

As I enter the holiday season, I find myself reflecting on this past year and anticipating the new year to come.

Two years ago, I challenged the Onex leadership team to come up with one word as their goal for the year. This exercise sounds easy but actually takes a lot of thought.

First, write all your goals for the new year. Then, look for themes that emerge. I remember a construction project manager telling me his word was “help.” I assumed since he was so busy he meant that he needed more staff. It turns out he was thinking of succession planning and helping others learn and grow in their careers.

Prioritize Your Goal

In my years of leading a business, I have tried a lot of goal-setting techniques. The ones I find help us the most are when we dream of the big picture but have to distill our intentions and focus on one goal, or one word.

Those of us running small- to medium-size businesses do not have layers of managers. A lot of times our people leaders also have tasks of their own to complete. So, by focusing on one goal, we are better able to prioritize our time and successfully accomplish our goal while helping our team members achieve theirs.

Reflection Leads to Clarity

As I reflect on the past couple of years, one of the things I have missed most are experiences such as travelling to new places, visiting with old friends and creating holiday memories with my family.

So, my one word for 2022 is going to be … drumroll … experiences! Now, how am I going to apply this to the world of business? I envision creating customer experiences personalized for clients. I am going to expand my network by taking an executive-level mergers and acquisitions course onsite at a private university with the goal of acquiring more businesses under the Onex brand. I will continue to write for trade journals and speak at industry events so others may have the chance to share their story with me. And, I will say “yes” when new, unexpected opportunities arise.

Experience and Exposure

You have heard me say it time and again. Experience and exposure are ways to change the world.

I was reminded of this last night as I watched the show Yellowstone. The owner of a Montana ranch offered an animal rights activist the opportunity to visit his ranch. The ranch owner wanted to better understand the activist’s point of view as well as educate her on ranching so that she may have more knowledge of the ranching industry. Spoiler alert … my guess is that next week these two will be friends instead of enemies. Experience and exposure at work even in Hollywood.

In real life, I take my boys on plant tours any chance we get since I understand how important it is to show them the hard work that goes into making products they love and enjoy. It is always an eye-opening experience. I love hearing them talk all about the trip from their perspective.

A New Year

As the new year rapidly approaches, I am preparing to provide experiences for Onex personnel. Office personnel will visit plant sites. Our employee owners will take a field trip to another employee-owned company, and we will share our combined experiences in monthly lunch-and-learns.

All these new experiences will be fun as we grow personally and professionally. Experiences will also provide us with exposure to others’ thoughts and ideas. We will gain a new perspective, which will lead to more kindness for humankind. I cannot think of a better goal for the new year!

Have you thought about your one-word goal for the new year?

Ashleigh Walters is president of Onex and author of Leading with Grit and Grace.

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