“We adopted a strategy that required our being smart and not too smart at that, only a very few times. Indeed, we now settle for one good idea a year”
Warren Buffett – business magnate, investor, and philanthropist.
It’s the new year and the festive season is over.
The start of the calendar year is a time for reflection, recharging your batteries and planing for the year ahead.
Was 2017 a challenging year for you?
Did you achieve your professional or business goals?
If not, why not?
Many of us make long lists of New Year’s resolutions that are unfortunately never fulfilled. Maybe we had too many resolutions, or they were too difficult or we were just plain lazy. One study found that less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions are never completed or considered successful.
However, as business owners or managers we are obliged do better and are expected to do better!
For example, as a manager or business owner, you will probably have a couple of new year’s resolutions about being more productive, expanding or improving your business.
Are they the right goals?
Will they make a REAL difference and become habits and a mindset so that you succeed now, and not just for the next 365 days?
As Warren Buffet suggests in the quote above, making a few significant right decisions will make a real difference. With New Year’s resolutions, set the right resolutions, limit the number and keep them simple – the KISS principle: keep it simple stupid. Using this principle, they are more likely to be effective and result in changing your habits.
Here are three resolutions you could consider for 2018 with three aims of being positive and habit forming, changing your mindset and having a positive impact on you, your business and your team.
Resolution 1: Ask More Questions
How often do you meet people and find they rarely ask questions?
Asking questions is not a sign of weakness. Questions are a tool to drastically improve your knowledge, resources, and even your network. Put your ego aside and ask questions. You will be surprised at what you will learn. I recently attended a training course and met some new professional consultants. By asking questions I found some surprising links with people we knew and experiences they had that could be useful in the future.
Asking questions is one of the most valuable skills a manager can have, whether it’s asking for advice, asking for feedback, or simply asking for help. It also demonstrates empathy and builds understanding. Great leaders do not have all the answers, however they usually ask the right questions.
Resolution 2: Work On My Business, Not Just In It
Most businesses start with a technician wanting to work for themselves because they have technical skills. (refer to blog on The E-Myth ) However, as the business grows there is a tendency to work on the activities you know and enjoy doing, that is working in the business not on the business.
To build a successful team or business, you need to learn how to create an entity that can exist without you. Leading rather than doing. Simply working harder, or working longer hours is unlikely to improve your business as significantly as required or desired. Whilst you may know your business better than anyone else, or are the most efficient person in the business, the time you spend doing jobs that other people could be doing is time not spent running and improving your business.
I learnt this the hard way in my former logistics business. I was spending too much time calculating the productivity of the different sections of the business by employee and customer – working in the business. It dawned on me that someone else could prepare the productivity reports for me. With the completed reports, I could then concentrate on the areas that needed action plus of course highlight and praise good performance – working on the business.
So, force yourself to look at your organisation objectively and determine what needs to occur so you can achieve your goals.
Resolution 3: Do more Networking
Networking is one of the most valuable tools you can have in your manager’s tool box. Knowing the right person provides opportunities to grow your business, from new markets or products to finding yourself a mentor. Those managers or business owners who surround themselves with a diverse, dynamic, long standing and large network increase their likelihood of success.
I was able to successfully find a prospective buyer for our logistics business through a networking contact (Networking) that went back over 25 years. However, networking needs to be approached with the mindset of maintaining a relationship and helping others. You are likely to have contacts, skills and experience that can assist others and in turn, they are more likely to help you. Remember, people do not like being used.
You are far more likely to develop relationships when you are not selling or asking for something. Networks are support systems. You are more likely to gain assistance through your network when you require assistance.
So, force yourself to make phone calls, catch up for coffee or join an organisation, whether professional or a service club. You will be surprised how rewarding it will be.
It’s not long to the New Year…………
Have you started thinking about your New Year’s resolutions?
Will these New Year’s resolutions meet the KISS principle?
Will they be habit forming, change your mindset and have a positive impact on your team or business?
………….and finally good planning and action for the coming year.