There’s nothing better than kicking a new year off with the wind at your back and a core set of resolutions to guide you to greatness. Indeed my fellow leaders, it’s that time again to ready ourselves to embody the very definition of “lead”, and show the way. I’ve found that the best way for me to do that is to commit myself to these 10 resolutions, and if I can stick to them diligently, especially in the first couple of months, I know I’ll be in the best position to succeed.
So let’s jump in, right here, and right NOW.
1. “I won’t dive into the year head first” – Before you plow forward into a new year, full speed ahead, pause and reflect on the year you just experienced – savor the victories (and the positive mindset that creates), and learn from the setbacks. Talk about this with your team, as early in the year as possible. THEN, dive in.
2. “I will study up” – Take as much time as you need to study the details of your business or project plan for the year ahead. You certainly don’t have to memorize every word and number, but you MUST at least absorb and conceptualize the full scope of what you’re trying to accomplish, and get a feel for any nuances and/or potential obstacles that may come up. You’ll feel ahead of the game right away – and that attitude will rub off on the rest of your team.
3. “I will not overplay my leadership strengths” – Don’t turn your best qualities into a longer term liability– I call that “reading my own fine print“; things that we need to be careful about. A good example of this is how a “good” tendency to a “hard charger” can turn “bad” if you end up going overboard, getting too impatient, and start steamrolling over people. Sort it all out early and become more aware of your “fine print“.
4. “I will put the right team on the field” – Take stock of your team and their strengths and weaknesses, and ask some hard questions: Is everyone committed to the new year and the new plan? Are the right talents matched with the right positions? Are there unresolved issues from last year that are still hanging out there? Should you reshuffle a few things now before things get too busy? Answer these questions NOW, take whatever corrective action is necessary, and give your team a better chance for success.
5. “I will keep raising the bar” – While it may not be realistically feasible to keep setting higher targets on every measurable metric you have, at least try to raise one or two to higher levels than the year before. Believe me, there is nothing better, and more motivating, than for a team to hit a “best ever” one year, raise the target the next year, and then hit it again.
6. “I will synthesize our goals to a memorable mantra” – Now that you’ve studied the business/project plan (see above), the challenge will be to reduce it to “bite sized” pieces so it can be effectively communicated throughout the organization – just like a mantra- that can be memorized and repeated. I’d try to keep the pieces to no more than 4 or 5, but once you come up with them, be relentless in your communication – post them everywhere, and your progress against them. Harness the power of the collective consciousness!
7. “I will be sure to set clear and measurable expectations” – It’s absolutely essential that your “accountability meter” is set properly; what I mean by that is making sure your teammates know what their expectations are for the year, and how they will be measured. And once that is done, you should lead using the “full spectrum” of accountability against those expectations.
8. “I will clean out my ears (and listen)”– Prepare your ears to be a better listener in the new year, with what I call a “virtual Q-Tip”. Sit down at your desk, close the door, and turn off your handheld and computer. Feel and “hear” what it’s like to not multitask, and just focus on your breath, and what’s happening around you. Do it for at least five minutes a day for a week, and then make a mental note to recreate this “listening environment” every time you are in the presence of your teammates.
9. “I will give feedback early & often” – While it’s tempting to immerse yourself in all the “nuts and bolts” as you’ve set sail against your plan, don’t forget to give your teammates as much feedback as possible, especially early on in the year. It’s much harder to give course corrections later if the ship has drifted way off course.
10. “I will be a More Human leader, and practice patience, tolerance, empathy & engagement”- This IS the most important resolution of them all, and the hardest to do. It’s so easy to get impatient, intolerant of critique, not suffer fools gladly, or be adverse to conflict. Stay self aware! You don’t have to be a zen master, but it’s important to stay centered, calm, open minded, receptive, and understanding, especially when things aren’t going your way. And they won’t.
Happy New Year and Lead Well!!