Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Take New Year's Resolutions to the Next Level in Your Business this Year

It’s the time of year to toss out the typical “to do” lists and plan your New Year’s resolutions filled with new plans, new dreams and new directions. Here are some New Year's resolutions geared to businesses and organizations.

Take the time to write out your resolutions and post them in a spot that you can easily see every day.

Be good to yourself this year. Promise that you will:

Do something you love to do, and that you do best, every single day. Carry this through to your team by asking them the following questions as this helps define if you have a happy, motivating and productive workplace:
  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
People who could answer these questions affirmatively were more likely to be happy and productive. Get passionate about your work. Do something you do best every day.

Do something just for you every single day. As a manager or business professional, you can get caught up in doing for others during every minute of your work day. If you have family members who occupy the off-work hours, this problem is compounded. Resolve to set time aside for yourself every day to exercise, relax, reflect, cook a gourmet dinner, eat ice cream, write in a journal, garden, walk your pet or do any other activity that takes your fancy. Just make sure the activity is different than what you already do all day long. You will feel as if you have a life.

Give yourself credit and a pat on the back when you deserve it. People who receive praise or recognition for their work in the past seven days are more happy and productive.

In this era of empowered employees and broad spans of managerial control, you are less likely to have frequent interaction with your boss. Thus, it is important that you recognize yourself for excellent efforts. One way to do this is to keep a file of positive notes, thank you letters and reminders of successful ventures. Stop to assess success after each project you complete.

Strive to learn something new every single day. It is easy to get bogged down in the same old, same old. Read an article; discuss a new approach with a colleague; research what other organizations are doing on the Web. The opportunities for learning are multiplying every day in this information age.

Make professional contacts and conduct focused networking. Look up colleagues with whom you have lost touch. Make sure you attend at least one professional meeting each month. You will benefit from the friendships and relationships you develop from active participation. It is not enough to “join.” You need to participate to reap the rewards from professional collaboration.

Practice professional courage by stepping out of your comfort zone. You know when you are in your comfort zone. An issue occurs. You hear yourself making up excuses in your mind about “why” you don’t need to speak, or “why” taking a stand on an issue will get you “in trouble.” Just once, when you find yourself in this situation, state what you are really thinking. After the shock wears off, your coworkers will admire you. It is so important that organization members provide honest feedback and participate in needed conflict to improve your products or services for customers.

Once you have begun breaking through your own self-imposed barriers, you will find that stating your mind gets easier and easier. Why? Because you will find you survived the experience. In fact, your career may thrive as a result of you leaving your comfortable home. Most people who practice professional courage expected the worst, but found they were rewarded for their new stance. If you find yourself getting beaten up instead, perhaps it’s time to look for different employment. After all, wouldn’t you really rather work where you can safely speak your mind?

Listen more than you talk. The old adage about one mouth and two ears is generally true. As a manager, you spend much of your time in problem-solving activities and efforts. Plan this year, to listen to all that your coworkers are saying; they may want a sounding board, not advice or problem solving. You may find you don’t have to take the monkeys on your back. Your listening may empower them to solve their own problems. When they feel completely heard out and listened to, they are more likely to move from “stuck” to action.

Develop a method to track your life goals, your daily engagements, and your to do list. Using a planner, whether in Microsoft Office Outlook on your laptop or on your smartphone, allows you to empty much of the daily detail from your mind. This gives your mind room for more important thinking.

Whether you choose a paper method or an electronic method, tracking your daily activities against your most important goals is critical. You want to ensure you accomplish your most important priorities.

Read voraciously to continue to learn and grow. Try to read a couple of business books a month plus periodicals and online journals. Try to read widely and broadly. Get out of the business books once in awhile to see how other subjects enhance your point of view.

Take up a new hobby or activity this year. Maybe this is the year you begin your collection. If something has always intrigued you and piqued your interest, resolve to take the first steps in participating this year. You’ll add a new dimension to your world and clear your head.

Take yourself a little less seriously. As we strive for business success, we can get bogged down in serious deliberation, advising and problem solving. Take time to laugh. Take time to smell cookies and bread baking. Smile when you hear stories about what all of your crazy employees are doing; you don’t need to be the “mom” or “dad” all the time. Enjoy them for all their little quirks and differences.

With warm regards, and great best wishes for your success, everyone on the McPherson Berry team wishes you a happy, healthy, prosperous, outstanding 2012 as you adopt these New Year's resolutions and continue to be creative and add more of your own.

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