7 Ways to Start 2018 Off On the Right Foot

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A new year is here and with it comes an opportunity to set new professional goals and intentions. Here are seven ways you can set yourself (and your program) up for success in 2018.

  1. Review 2017

We get so busy it can be difficult to find time to thoroughly and honestly assess what we’re doing on the day-to-day. Spend an hour determining the top successes and setbacks of 2017. What did the successful endeavors have in common? What about the setbacks? With some time between you and last year’s hits and misses, you can look at things with fresh eyes and then make a conscious effort to apply the tactics that led to success to all your projects.

Resources: Lifelong Learning Program Assessment Tool

  1. Count your lucky stars (and dogs)

Now that you’ve looked at 2017 as a whole, let’s take a look at your courses and events. Were there any classes that surpassed expectations or missed the mark? Let the numbers do the talking here. Once you’ve determined your stars, think about how – or if – you can elevate these classes even further. Are there untapped audiences or spinoff classes that could help improve your turn on investment? Can you do more targeted marketing? Do the same when it comes to your low-performing courses. And, if the course has been performing poorly consistently, it’s time to consider cutting it altogether.

Resources: Video Tip Sheet: The Four Aspects of Repeat Lifelong Learning Courses

  1. Brainstorm new courses more often

There’s never a bad time to be thinking of new courses! Take note of every new course idea you have and encourage others on the team to do the same. Taking calculated risks with new programming can lead to more cancellations but it can also lead to some great successes, too. Successful programs have a product mix of 70 to 90 percent old or repeat courses and 10 to 30 percent new courses. If more than 90 percent of your offerings are old, you don’t have enough new courses and you should consider taking more chances. But, on the other hand, if your mix includes less than 70 percent old courses, you may have too many risky new courses.

Resources: 10 Questions to Ask Before Planning New Programs
Free Tip Sheet: New Places to Look For Course Inspiration

     4. Commit to asking for help

The fear of asking for help is common and widespread but not asking for help can isolate us, cause anxiety, and eventually, burnout. When we condition ourselves to do without an extra set of eyes or input from others, it can be difficult to start the new (and more positive) habit of asking for help. Asking for help, and creating a work environment that is conducive to asking for help, improves morale and outcomes. Remember, you absolutely don’t need preface your request with “I’m sorry” or any excuses.

Resources: It’s Real: The Fear of Asking for Help

  1. Work on your communication skills

Grammar got you down? Or, maybe your PowerPoint presentations are looking a little outdated. Whether it’s expanding your vocabulary, improving your public speaking or simply writing better emails, consider enhancing your communication skills in 2018.

Resources: On-Demand Webinar: Writing Creative and Compelling Course Descriptions
Free Web App: Grammarly

  1. Rethink distractions

Sometimes, it’s impossible to stay focused and we’ve all spent time going down the YouTube rabbit hole or “accidentally” clicking on a promotional sales email. Next time you find yourself needing a mental break; consider a different approach such as listening to a helpful podcast or spending five to 10 minutes on a mentally-stimulating quiz or app. You’ll be giving your brain a much-needed respite while also boosting your brain power.

Resources: 9 Podcasts that Will Make You 10% Smarter
Meriam-Webster Quizzes
App: Peak Brain Training

  1. Review your strategic plan

Whether your program has a strategic plan or you are going to work on developing one this year, the start of a new year is a good time to set intentions for the year ahead. What are your major goals? What will you need (resources, time, new tools) to accomplish these goals? If you’re in the middle of your fiscal year, take time to evaluate your progress so far. Do you need to make any adjustments to ensure you’ll meet your goals?

Resources: Digital Library: Strategic Plan Timeline