Resolutions of New Year

I do not make New Year’s resolutions. I find that the process of deciding what I want to accomplish in the next year is much more intense than simply coming up with a few “like to do’s” for the coming year.
Rather, at the end of each year, I evaluate my business and my life from the standpoint of goals I set for the year, update my strategic business plan, then set goals for the upcoming year. For each major goal, I develop a plan to achieve the goal. I think every executive should have the discipline to do the same thing.
So I’d like to give you some ideas and thoughts about areas you may want to set goals for in 2012. I believe that personal goals and business goals are intertwined. This is true whether you are running a small business like me, or running a large organization. We each bring to our jobs and careers three things—body, mind, and soul. This is the place to start when looking at personal goals.

The body is our source of energy and enthusiasm. I admit that I place a lot of emphasis on my physical health and well being. I find that this is the area that many executives neglect in their personal lives. Most have great intentions, but just can’t seem to find the time to exercise and stay fit. I use long distance running as the focus of my physical activity. Next week I will be running my second half marathon. I start each year with a goal to run a certain number of races and then put together a schedule. This then drives my ongoing training activities.
Our mind is the intelligence and knowledge that we bring to the job. The average top executive reads less than two book per year on the subjects directly related to running an organization—leadership, strategy, marketing, etc. I suggest having a goal around reading books that will help you in your career. I subscribe to Executive Book Summaries which I have found is a great way to sample several books per month. Then, I order and read those that are of the greatest interest to me. The business world changes rapidly and I think it is important for executives to continue to “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey would say. Think about setting a goal this year to expand your mind in someway—reading, seminars, joining an executive roundtable group are just some of the ways to accomplish this.
The soul is the character and belief system we bring to the job. It can be spiritually based, or can be from other source. We all need to have basic principles that provide us direction and guidance as we make difficult decisions. Plan to spend some time this coming year reassessing your values and beliefs, and critically evaluating whether your actions as a leader are consistent with those values and beliefs.
The more we develop our body, mind, and soul, the more we can contribute to the job, In return, we can expect to receive more. Our job and career provides us the both tangible and intangible compensation. Money provides the resources that enable us to support our family and to maintain a life style that we want. Managing financial resources is another area to look at when setting personal goals. After doing something about physical fitness, I find that dealing with debt in the next most mentioned area when people I work with set personal goals.
The current economic situation has raised people’s awareness of the problems with too much debt. Whether we are talking about the national debt, unwise leading practices by financial institutions, or personal credit card debt, people are concerned and see the ramifications of excessive debt. Even when debt is not an issue, there are always things we can do to improve our personal finances. Just as businesses are always looking for ways to eliminate excessive costs and to do things more cost effectively, we can do the same thing in our personal life.
A trend that I am seeing more and more in clients and other companies is that the responsibility for career planning and development is shifting away from the company and being placed on the employee. People are being asked to assume the responsibility for their own careers rather than have the company map it out for them. The concept of lifetime employment is gone for most people. Setting goals to enhance one’s value in the job marketplace is another potential goal area to consider.
I believe that we as business leaders have an obligation to give back to and serve in our communities in some way. Financial pressures have forced many companies to cut back or even totally eliminate charitable giving. Charities which provide much needed services are struggling to survive. While charities certainly need contributions of money, they also need leaders who are willing to serve in both leadership roles as well as “doing” roles. Consider getting involved in a community organization this year, or increasing your involvement in one that you are already associated with.
Now an additional thought about business goals. Most of the goals and objectives that leaders have are set by the organization. I suggest leaders look at setting additional goals in two areas. One is to come up with one key accomplishment that would benefit the company, benefit the leader’s team, and benefit the leader and to establish a goal around this accomplishment. This is something I have newly appointed leaders do that I work with and have seen great results from it. It really creates a win-win-win focus within the leader’s organization.
Building positive relationships up, down, and sideways in an organization is essential for leadership success. I encourage leaders to set a personal goal around improving relationships with key associates during the coming year.
So as you start 2012, don’t make resolutions, but instead set a few key personal goals for the year. Have a detailed plan for how you will accomplish each goals. Have a great 2012.

1 Comment:

Stuart Spindlow said...

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