Another fiscal year has begun – those of us in the business world are quite accustomed to the compartmentalization of our trek into 365 day chunks.
We gear up our teams to hit annual budgets and goals in January, do our utmost to execute throughout the subsequent months, and fret, cajole, push, and do whatever else we deem necessary to get to December 31 categorized as a success.
Then on January 1, you get back to work and you do it all over again, the clock and the scoreboard set back to zero.
It’s quite ritualistic, really, when you sit back and think about it, although there have been years where things were going great and our momentum was strong, so I didn’t want to stop the clock on 12/31. I wanted to just keep going.
Momentum is a fickle thing, and I have found it difficult to maintain after the decks have been cleared and a new set of goals get put in place.
Especially if you don’t take at least a little time for reflection. Just jumping back into a new year without a pause to look behind and celebrate success (or perish the thought, learn from failures) is a recipe for a sluggish start.
As leaders we must fight the impulse to plow ahead in January without much regard to what happened in the previous 12 months. I realize it’s not easy given the typical pressure to get off to a good start, but I would argue that by stopping and looking back, (say in the form of a day-long management retreat), and making sure that team and individual successes are praised and recognized in the process, we stand a much better chance to have energized teammates ready to take on the challenges of the new year.
It’s probably the most important January action we can take after the clock is reset – I’ve done it this week with my team and I’m confident that by taking a “pause that refreshes”, we’re now ready to press ahead strongly in 2008.
Have a great rest of the week!