Photo Credit: Wild Apricot
[This is the followup piece from yesterday’s Monday Morning Moment.]
It’s December. Back to the office after the snow day. The squeeze is on our calendars as we march toward the end of the year. Here’s the question: how do we truly finish strong with the hope of an even stronger start in the new year?
If it’s all you can do to just try to finish…then you do what you can, for sure. Reflecting on this year may have to come in January. We all know the pressure doesn’t change just because we have new planners to fill. If we make this a priority, it actually could have great impact on the pressures…and the people under your watch, experiencing a similar pressure. We can change it up.Photo Credit: Gryphon Networks
Here are summaries of 5 end-of-the-year checklists from 5 business leaders. We can choose one or choose from each. In brief:
Lolly Daskal, founder of the leadership consulting firm Lead From Within, is one of my favorite writers/speakers on leadership. Her end-of-the-year checklist is in the form of 18 no-nonsense questions on your own leadership and character. Penetrating and informative. Here are a few of my favorites from that list:
- Did you act decisively?
- Did you build others up?
- Did you listen before you speak?
- Did you cultivate leadership in others?
- Did you lead with positivity?
- Did you navigate or fix?
- Did you value the unique contributions of others?
- Did you lead by example? – Lolly Daskal
Marcel Schwantes, founder of Leadership From the Core, gives a rapid read, 5-point checklist which follows. Everything he writes is golden, so you definitely want to click on the article to fill in the blanks on how you execute these points starting now and into the new year:
- Shine the spotlight on your employees.
- Give direct and actionable feedback.
- Get to personally know your employees.
- Get in the habit of recognizing and praising your people.
- Create and communicate a shared vision of the future. – Marcel Schwantes
[We all think we do the 5 above well. Re-assessing, especially at end-of-year is key to truly being who we think we are for those we lead.]
“As leaders, we often move from one year to the next with little or no time spent reviewing the year just past from a purely leadership perspective.” – Les McKeown
Business writer, Les McKeown, also prescribes a brilliant 5-point end-of-the-year checklist for leaders:
- Manage the narrative.
- Straighten the angels.
- Center yourself.
McKeown gives practical examples and exercises on how to finish the year healthy…for your benefit and that of your employees and organization. Honestly, this is creative and illuminating stuff…worth every minute of what you invest in it.
- Read Your Fine Print – Every leader’s strengths, if overplayed, can turn out to be a negative – I call that the leader’s “fine print“; things that we need to be careful about. Sort it all out early and become more aware of your “fine print“.
- Put The Right Team On The Field – Take stock of your team and their strengths and weaknesses, and ask a few hard questions: Is everyone committed to the new year and the new plan? Did you have some unresolved issues from last year that are still hanging out there? Do you need to reshuffle a few things now before things get too busy? Answer these questions NOW, take whatever corrective action is necessary, and give your team a better chance for success.
- Clean Out Your Ears – This one’s real simple – prepare your ears to listen, with this virtual “Q-Tip”. Sit down at your desk, close the door, and turn off your handheld and computer. Feel and “hear” what it’s like to not multitask, and just take in what’s happening around you. Make a mental note to recreate this “listening environment” every time you are in the presence of your teammates.
Don’t miss the other points of St. Marie’s checklist. Again, brilliant.
The end of the year is the perfect time for a SWOT analysis — a review of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. (Forbes Coaches Council)
Celebrate – If we don’t take time to celebrate (even the small things), we become burnt out, frustrated, and ineffective. Do something special for your team to celebrate their strengths. – (Forbes Coaches Council)
Show appreciation for your employees – Go beyond the usual card. Offer your clients and employees something of significance that you believe will make them feel special…valued. – (Forbes Coaches Council)
Get to know someone new in the company – While the holidays are full of food and stories, leaders should take the time to meet others downline in the company. Brown bag it with someone you don’t know. Invite an employee out to lunch. And talk about everything other than work! This will help you relate to others who typically don’t see you every day. This can improve the culture, as you challenge others to do the same. – (Forbes Coaches Council)
Budget for leadership development – At the end of the year, take time to add leadership development training in the next year and invest in your upcoming talent. This way, you increase employee retention and employee engagement. Plan for the future, invest in your talent. – (Forbes Coaches Council)
There you have it. My hope is that this is more encouraging than burdening. If we carve a chunk of time to do this, both privately and with our team, it will yield all kind of good with which to enter the new year. Both relationally and strategically for the sake of the organization.