The white-knuckle ride known as 2020 has taught us many things, from the foolishness of taking anything for granted, to the importance of being resilient.
And this year, more than ever, it feels impossible to avoid reflecting on the lessons we’ve learned and which ones we’ll carry with us from this incredible, sometimes regrettable year into 2021.
That’s a good thing. As a general rule, New Year’s resolutions can be good things, too. They’re powerful way to map out a fresh start to a new year. But maybe, this year, we’d all do well to keep our resolutions a little more visionary, a little less tactical. I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Here are a few resolutions I’d like to recommend for next year.
- Align your goals with your values
When is the perfect time to step back and reflect on your values? Every day, especially right now. I’m not getting at anything complicated. I’m getting at one question, in its simplest form: what do you stand for? What can your clients, employees, associates, friends, and family know is true about you, regardless of the circumstances? There is immeasurable power in revisiting goals – whether they’re organizational or personal – and challenging those goals alongside your values. That’s how you can spot the little inconsistencies or contradictions when they first appear and close those gaps. Why? Well, there is the obvious reason that values-centered leadership is a compass that can guide you and your organization through the rough times as well as the wildly successful ones. But there’s also the fact that, when you make a habit of leading from your values, you solidify your reputation for transparency and reliability.
- Invest in resilience
When life or the economy or your marketplace throw you a curve ball, your rigid plans and set-in-steel processes won’t carry you through. But a well-considered contingency plan, quick thinking, and a heaping attitude of resilience will. Without a crystal ball, you can’t know exactly what challenges are coming your way. But you can invest in the kinds of partnerships and teams that enable you to react swiftly, intelligently, and dependably when you need to adapt.
- Know what you control and let go of the rest
To paraphrase the old saying, we make plans and the universe laughs. We lived that old saying this year. That’s not to say that planning is bad. Planning is the roadmap to getting from where you are to where you want to be. But a plan needs to be flexible enough, forgiving enough, vision-driven enough, to bend with whatever winds blow at your door. At times, that may mean accepting disappointments, walking away from paths or ideas that are no longer relevant, and regrouping.
- Surround yourself with good people
For all the things you can’t control, you do get to choose the company you keep, both at work and in your personal life. Not everyone in your orbit has to be your best buddy or your soul mate or your highest performer. But shouldn’t each and every one of them be honest, invested in your success as well as their own, and accountable for fixing things when they make mistakes? Yes, they should, because when you surround yourself with these people, you empower yourself and your organization to do your best. You deserve that. Each of us deserves that.
- Grow your gratitude
Seems so obvious. But it deserves to be said. If this year has taught us anything, it has surely reminded us to appreciate the good things we have been so privileged to enjoy in the past. How many truly wonderful experiences – no matter how fleeting or small – did we used to let slip through our fingers or slide past our consciousness, without taking a moment to simply marvel at the miracle of it all? We’re all guilty of it. But wouldn’t we all do better if we would just do better at this one thing next year? Wouldn’t it be the ultimate triumph over these past eleven months if each of us could simply resolve to notice how great the good things – and the good people – are and say thank you, out loud and with feeling, a lot more often? I think we can. I know I’ll try. And I wish us all a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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