Moving Forward into a New Year

Happy New Year!

Whether you’re coming off a great year or one you’d rather forget, the New Year is here.  Time to celebrate! 

By now you’ve completed your plan, set your goals and built your budget.  But wait, don’t make the mistake of jumping right into the stress of the new year without a proper transition.  Get off the hamster wheel and take the time to reflect on last year.

What really went well?  Your team worked hard to reach the goal, or at least come close.  Launching into this new year without addressing the results of last year, can leave the team deflated and disappointed. 

It’s kind of like the day after Christmas.  When the anticipation is over and we’re underwhelmed with the actual result, it’s cold and dreary outside, and we’d like to crawl under the covers until Spring. 

One way to avoid this morale drop is to pause, reflect, and take time to appreciate the sacrifice and hard work of your team, even if it didn’t generate over the top performance.  They (and you) need closure.

Only once that’s complete, can you move into 2017.  And, move into it you must – with energy and excitement! 

When the team is ready, focus all your attention toward the future, full of possibilities.  This is one of the few times during the year when you have no year-to-date performance to belabor.  Everything is upside.  Go ahead and paint a mental picture for your team of a fabulous 2017, a year of outstanding achievement. If you believe it, they will see it and will work hard to make it happen.

Of course, it can’t be all roses.  A key part of your credibility is being open and transparent about the business. 

What are the challenges you will face together?  How does the team need to change to be most effective?  What are the opportunities to be seized?  If you ignore the tough stuff and come out only has a company cheerleader, you’ll lose them.  You can, however, talk about the threats and challenges with hope and optimism, and most importantly confidence in your team.  They’ll appreciate that.

For even more impact, share your personal New Year’s resolution.  What’s your promise to the team?  One year, I told my whole team I was going to work on not interrupting them during meetings.  While seemingly minor, it was the elephant in the room.  I put it out there and wanted their help to hold me accountable.  The more open and vulnerable you are, the more trust you’ll garner.

In return, you can ask each employee for their resolutions — what are they are going to do differently this year?  You may be surprised by the answers (and results) you get! 

And now for the celebration!  Don’t miss the perfect opportunity for an official New Year’s Kick-off.  Even if you just had a town hall or other end-of year discussion, schedule a kick-off meeting to officially launch the new year to all employees.   Yes, all employees. 

Believe it or not, they all care about the direction of the company and want to help and support.  And, make it fun – balloons, noise makers, music – whatever it takes to rally the troops toward the new year.

With everyone engaged in the business and focused on the new goals, you’ve set the stage for a fabulous New Year.  Get started now, as Spring will be here before you know it. 

Happy New Year!

Guest Blogger Janet Collins is strategic advisor and leadership specialist.  She works with business leaders to develop growth strategies and mobilize teams to take action and achieve results. She’s a coach who’s been in your shoes, most recently as President of GMi Companies (Ghent, VividBoard and Waddell), where she created a culture of profitable growth, innovation, and accountability.  Contact Janet at www.linkedin/in/collinsjanet.

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