Recommitting In The New Year
The start of a new year is an event that millions of people use as a marker of a fresh start in their lives. It’s an opportunity to be better, to do the things we should and to set aside the missteps of the previous year. The appeal of it makes sense; there’s a clear demarcation between the old and the new, a literal turning of the page in the case of those wall calendars that still exist. A cynic might argue that it’s no less arbitrary than any other date chosen as the start of the “new you,” but whatever the reason, the first days of the new year have special power in our minds as the time for reinventing and reimagining our circumstances.
Within that spirit, the new year is a chance for us to reexamine our businesses to see where we are in relation to where we want to go and to adjust accordingly. Not that one should wait until the calendar turns over to make big decisions that shouldn’t be put off, but the introspection that we tend to undertake during the holiday season can easily be turned towards the venture that’s consuming much of our lives. Just as with our personal hopes and ambitions, we can fall short or lose sight of what we hoped to do professionally amidst the circumstances and challenges thrown at us on an almost daily basis. And while it would be easy to beat ourselves up over it, we can just as easily sit down and address those areas we know we can improve in.
Recommit to your goals.
Your goals should always ideally be front of mind, but it’s all too often that we’re sidetracked by diversions or new projects or any number of things that pull our minds away from our bit targets to ones that we need to meet to get on to the next thing. And that is an entirely natural development; if we’re viewing our ultimate goal as the place we’re steering to many miles ahead, we still have to avoid the obstacles and potholes directly in front of us if we hope to reach our ultimate destination. But those diversions have a way of drawing our focus in a manner that can obscure those bigger goals, to the point that we can lose sight of them altogether if we’re not careful.
With the break that you’re hopefully getting over the holidays, you have the chance to step back from the day-to-day madness of running a business to see if you’re still on track towards those larger goals, and if you’re not, to figure out how to guide yourself and your team back onto the right path. Or, crucially, you can evaluate whether the goals you laid out a year or more ago still make sense for the company given what’s transpired over the past year. Either way, it’s an opportunity to once again see the big picture before you delve back into the daily minutiae.
Re-engage with your best practices.
It’s human nature to get a bit complacent and a bit sloppy with tasks that become rote over weeks and months. We’d all love to be at one hundred percent all the time with everything we do, but work, like life itself, is a grind, and we’re all marshaling our energy to make it through the long haul rather than burning out in a few weeks’ time. And comfort slips in once we’ve been doing something for long enough — not necessarily a bad thing per se, but it does allow things to fall by the wayside in a way they didn’t when we were new to our tasks and eager to impress and do a good job. And circumstances once again intrude, demanding more of people and putting more tasks on their plate so that each is getting less attention than it perhaps deserves.
A reinvigorated return from an end-of-year break is the perfect time to sit everyone down and make sure that you and your workforce are recommitting yourself to doing the basics well and correctly. The reminder will bring the matter front of mind again and make sure that everyone is making a conscious effort to focus on the little things as well as the big. Will you have to do the same again in a year’s time? Probably, but such is human nature.
The holidays are also a time for you to take a break from work altogether and enjoy some needed rest and relaxation. It’s well and good for you to give your team time off during this period, but don’t spend those days burning the midnight oil yourself, thinking that this is the time for you to catch up or get ahead while every other sane person is spending time with the family. With any luck this lesson is self-evident, but there’s undoubtedly a few who need to be brought back in line. Even if you’re not celebrating any of the particular holidays on offer, just enjoy the time away from the office and hopefully with family or friends.
The new year is a chance to try again, different and better, provided that you take the opportunity presented to reset and rethink your approach. Don’t let the chance pass you by. #onwards
Patty Block, President and Founder of The Block Group, established her company to advocate for women-owned businesses, helping them position their companies for strategic growth. From improving cash flow…. to increasing staff productivity…. to scaling for growth, these periods of transition — and so many more — provide both challenges and opportunities. Managed effectively, change can become a productive force for growth. The Block Group harnesses that potential, turning roadblocks into building blocks for women-owned businesses.