Dick Clark. Times Square and the descending ball. Popping champagne corks.
All these are signs that the a new year is upon us, ready or not, like it or not.
This time of year offers a great opportunity for claims professionals to sit back, reflect on the past twelve months and plan for the upcoming year. In the context of goal-setting, take this time to ponder what you want to do professionally with your claims career in 2012.
Are you happy and satisfied with the course you are on? If not, what specific steps will you need to change your trajectory?
If you are on the right course, what steps can you take in 2012 to accelerate your journey and make it more fun?
What skills do you need to acquire and hone in 2012?
Goals should be specific, measurable and time-bound.
“I plan to pursue continuing claims education in 2012” is a lame-oh goal. Better: “I plan to complete two courses b y 12/31/12 that earn credit toward the AIC designation.”
“Planning to network more” is a weak goal. Instead, consider something on the order of, “In 2012, I will grow my LinkedIn contacts to 200 members and to attend at least three local claim association gatherings.”
“I plan to get a better job next year” might be replaced by, “I will update my resume, locate a headhunter and make a specific overture/application for a new claims position at least once a month in 2012.”
Should you keep your goals private or publicize them? There is no one right answer here.
Whether you share the goals with anyone other than yourself, I strongly recommend putting pen to paper – or fingers to the keyboard – and reducing to writing some specific, measurable goals for 2012, with specific target dates. No one can tell you what your goals should be. Here is a sampling of possible professional goals for 2012, meant only to spur your own thinking along these lines:
1. “I will find ways to capture a 10% savings in my claims department budget.”
2. “I will schedule monthly lunches with peer-level claims professionals within and outside my company.”
3. “I will conduct an employee satisfaction survey within the claims department and identify five action items for the year.”
4. “I will organize four in-house continuing education sessions for the claims staff.”
5. “I will strive to contain the growth in the organization’s overall claim costs by no more than X%.”
6. “I resolve to write a short article (750 to 1000 words) on a claims topic and submit it to publication in an industry newsletter, publication or trade magazine.”
7. “I will heighten my industry visibility by volunteering for one speaking role at a trade conference or claims seminar.”
8. “I will spend 30 minutes per day to professional reading in claims, legal developments, coverage, etc.”
9. “I will identify five work tasks that I currently do that are no longer necessary and will either discontinue or delegate them.”
10. “I will initiate quarterly informal meetings with my boss to gauge my progress on professional goals and to ensure we’re on the same page.”
11. “I will – on my own time -- update my resume quarterly and will make sure I speak with my friendly headhunter at least twice during the year.”
12. “I will prepare a concise claims management report for the upper management team and (if appropriate) Board of Directors quarterly.”
13. “I will conduct a thorough review of outside legal/rehab/contractor services this year to see where we can improve in quality or cost of service.”
14. “I resolve to leave the office by 6:00 PM each work day to increase my family time.
15. “I will successfully complete the following courses toward qualifying for the AIC, CPCU, SCLA, etc.”
16. “I will learn to use the following software program to help my work quality or productivity in 2012….”
OK, I said sixteen examples. Let me toss in another:
17. I will resolve to read The Claims Coach blog regularly and faithfully throughout the year…!
One final thought. Having goals is a great first step toward success. Just having them, though, is NOT enough.
Once upon a time, there were three frogs sitting on a lily pad. One of them decided to jump off.
How many frogs were left on the lily pad?
If you said two, you are probably like many of us.
The right answer: three.
Deciding to jump isn’t the same as actually jumping.
Deciding on a goal and writing it down isn’t the same as working toward it. Block out time on your schedule daily, weekly, monthly to engage in specific tasks that move you closer and closer to your 2012 goals!
Make 2012 your best year yet! Happy New Year!!
What professional goals in the claims field are you hoping to achieve in 2012?