“Self-assessment is universal truth.” Unknown

In my ongoing series on taking control in uncertain times, this edition discusses how to assess where you are today, and how to prioritize your action, making the actions you take as meaningful and impactful as possible.

To review the steps discussed to date, the first step was to envision the success you want, which is the vision of where you want to be (read the article here).  The next step was to define your new or revised unique purpose, your mission (read the article here), to focus your day-to-day activity.  The next step was to define the values that will define who you are authentically and guide your action as you move toward your vision and execute your mission (read the article here).  Together, these components are referred to as your Strategic Foundation; the fundamental components for taking control in uncertain times.

Now, it is time to assess where you are today so that you can create a meaningful and prioritized plan of action that will guide you to take control, or as much control as possible, in these uncertain times.  To conduct this assessment, follow these four steps and to help facilitate accomplishing it you can use our Current State Assessment Template spreadsheet by clicking here:

  1. Determine where you are today, right now, in relation to your Strategic Foundation: This is accomplished by analyzing where you are today compared to your vision (where you want to be), your mission (your purpose), and your values (your decision-making tools).

To assess where you are today, using a scale of 1 to 10, rate each aspect of your vision, mission, and values where 1 means “not started or no action taken,” and 10 means “got it, have it, mastered it, done!”  Your results will likely have a mixture of ratings below 5, between 5 and 8, and a few 9’s or 10’s.  Though you may desire all of them to be rated a 9 or 10, the fact is, especially in these changing times and uncertain environment, most of us are not operating or achieving at our highest potential.  And if your vision is all 9s and 10s, well, you need to set loftier intentions.

So, an ideal result is not important.  What IS important is an honest assessment, to give you a true understanding of your starting point for taking control.  So be honest with yourself.

  1. Determine what you need to change to fully achieve your Strategic Foundation: That is, you need to assess what you are currently doing and what you need to do differently, or what you need to “change” in order to achieve your vision, activate on your mission, and live your values.

Assessing what needs to change involves asking yourself the following three questions for each aspect of your Strategic Foundation that you rated 8 or less in the Step 1:

    • What are you doing right and should continue doing?
    • What do you need to start doing that you are not currently?
    • What, and perhaps most important, what do you need to stop doing that is not moving you in the right direction?

Two things are common results.  First, you will see several recurring themes repeated throughout the assessment.  Second, the things that need to stop are most often negative thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs that are holding you back from success.

  1. Assess what conditions exist that impact my Strategic Foundation? This is done through an assessment of your or your organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses and the external opportunities and threats (a.k.a., a standard SWOT analysis, “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats”) in relationship to your vision, mission, and values.

To do this:

    • List your or your company’s current strengths in relation to your vision, mission, and values. What are you currently doing well?
    • List what needs improvement to better reach you vision, execute your mission, and live your values.
    • List the external opportunities available to you now such as available loan programs, new market opportunities, access to talent, etc.
    • List the external threats impacting you or your business. Obviously, the continued economic shutdown would be listed here along with local and industry-specific threats.

Note: Though it is important to list these external threats, understand that you have no real control over them.  They are important only as factors that impact what you can DO to manage AROUND THEM, not manage them.

  1. Prioritize where to focus your actions: Here is where the real power lies in taking control.  No one, no business, can focus on more than a few things at a time.  It is not humanly possible, and it is folly to think you can.  Focus is the key to taking control and in order to focus you had to do all the steps above to give you the proper context for your focus.

To prioritize, you simply review all the items you rated with an 8 or less in Step 1 while using the results in Steps 2 and 3 as guiding information and select the one that feels like the highest priority.  Mark that #1.  Then list the next priority, and so on.

You will find that once you get beyond listing 6 or 7 priorities it becomes increasingly difficult to separate what is #7 from #8 or #9.  Why?  Because they are NOT the highest priority.  So, if you list 5 to 6 priorities, you are golden.

You now have a prioritized list of 5-6 areas where your focus is needed right now.  A focus that is driving you toward your vision, guiding you to execute more effectively on you mission, all while staying true to who you are authentically.  What else is there in business or life?

In the final article in the series, I will complete the process by discussing on how to take effective action on your top priorities.

To receive this detailed exercise, CLICK HERE.  To receive our template to help you organize your assessment, CLICK HERE.  To discuss this assessment or any other personal life or business topic, CLICK HERE to schedule a free consultation.  This is my personal give-back to our community during these unprecedented times.