New Year’s Resolutions for Leaders

Fuochi d'artificioIt’s only the day after Christmas, but many people are already looking ahead to the new year – and their new year’s resolutions. Some of my friends have sworn off making resolutions, preferring instead to identify a personal challenge or two. Personally, I don’t see the difference. Regardless of what you call it, the idea is to identify one or more goals you commit to working toward during the next year.

Of course, many will settle on some version of the “Big 3” resolutions:
1. Eat Better
2. Exercise More
3. Lose Weight.

Resolutions aren’t just for transforming your body. The start of a new year is a great time to focus on developing good habits that will help transform your organization. Here’s my take on a trio of resolutions – consider them challenges – for you in 2013. I’ll use the same three resolutions likely at the top of your personal list.

1. Eat Better. It’s been said that you are what you eat. And just as ingesting healthier food will do your body good, the proper mental diet can improve your thinking and decision making. Resolve this year to read, watch and listen to material that helps you become a better leader. Subscribe to trade publications and newsletters to help you stay on top of the latest trends in your industry and few others. Invest in some audio books or podcasts from recognized thought leaders. Signup up for webinars and check out free You Tube videos that show you how to master new skills. A steady stream of the right thoughts and information will fuel your efforts to lead your organization to new heights this year.

2. Exercise more. Just like most resolutions, many organizational efforts die in the planning stage. Some suffer from a lack of resources, while others die due to a lack of true commitment. But most, in my experience fail because there’s a lack of accountability for true results. Make 2013 the year you actually get things done. Focus your efforts by turning ideas into specific action items with owners and deadlines. Teams work better when every member understands the goal, has a clearly defined role to play and is held accountable for following through on their assignments.

3. Lose weight. A of of us carry around extra weight – weight that prevents us from moving as quickly as we could or doing the things we should. Organizations carry some unhealthy weight too. Outdated or cumbersome policies can stifle progress toward meaningful objectives. So seek out and eliminate red tape that does more harm than good. A good place to start would be policy that inhibits free communication, timely customer service, or employee creativity.

New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep. That’s probably because we tend to bite off more than we can chew. You can’t reverse a lifetime of bad habits overnight. So improve your chances of success by making small changes. Set two or three small goals for yourself – things that are easy to achieve, but meaningful. The boost you get will help propel you into the next one.

I’m excited about what 2013 has to offer. I hope you are too. Happy New Year!

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