Harness the Power of the New Years’ Resolution for Your Business

Do you chuckle to yourself when someone makes a bold New Year’s Resolution? We understand that making resolutions is easy. Keeping them is more challenging. But the idea behind New Year’s Resolutions is a powerful one. By envisioning our ideal future, taking an honest accounting of our current situation, and making needed changes, we can shape our future reality. But how can we use this power to bring needed change to our businesses and make sure our resolutions become reality?

Step 1: Visualize what you want your business to look like in the future and take a realistic look at where your business is now.

Spend time visualizing what you want your business to look like in 3 to 5 years. Link this vision for your company to the important things it will mean to you. How can your products and services create a positive impact for your clients? How can you make your company a great place for your valued employees to work? Is it important for you to have the ability to spend more time doing what you love? Spend time visualizing in your mind what it would look like if you and your business were operating in perfect stride. Don’t shortcut this step. It is important to link what you care deeply about if you want to change your behavior. This step will provide fuel to make needed changes. Write it down and put it somewhere you can see it everyday. Now spend time evaluating where your business is now. This may be painful. Unfortunately, we will not make changes in our behavior until it is in our interest to do so. The goal of this exercise is to get you excited and motivated to make the changes you need to make.

Step 2: You need to change your behavior and the behavior of your employees to get a “great” result.

Changing behavior is difficult. Prepare for a long campaign with both victories and temporary setbacks. While many of the improvements will be “simple”, they will not be “easy”. It’s easy to blame problems on competition, increased regulation, the industry, or the economy. But these issues are outside of your control. So while it may feel good to complain about them, and you may even be right, it is just wasted energy. Spend time focusing on your own behavior and the behavior of your employees, since this is something you can control.

Step 3: Involve, engage and motivate members of your team.

If you have modeled your management style after the Frank Sinatra song, “I Did It My Way,” this may be a challenge for you! If your vision for your company needs employees, you must find a way for them to buy into this vision. “Because I said so” might get your children to behave, but it will not work well with your best employees. While many employers think money is the only motivator for employees, but it’s just one of many factors. Recognition, opportunity for growth, increased responsibility, and a sense of control are important motivators for employees as well. Share your vision for your company with your employees, give them a chance to give feedback, and link the successful realization of your vision of the company with what they care about most. You need to be a great manager to develop great employees.

Step 4: Measure and Manage with Accountability.

Now that you’ve got your vision and your employees are on board, you need to decide how you will judge whether or not you’ve achieved your goals. Can the outcome be measured objectively? Increasing customer goodwill is not measurable, but increasing your average client size is. After you’ve measured your progress, make adjustments and changes based on your results. Expect that you will need to make changes to how you meet your goals. But work to avoid “moving the goalposts” and changing the goals themselves. You’ll also need to assign responsibility for the tasks needed to accomplish the goals. This includes you, the owner!  This is your opportunity to lead by example and hold yourself accountable for both successes AND failures. And one last thing, if you are like many business owners you may struggle with delegating. Remember, you can’t do it all. Your main job is to motivate, inspire, and keep your employees focused on the vision and the goals.

It might not be New Year’s Eve, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect time for you to decide where you want your business to go (and grow) and how you will take it there.

By creating your vision, changing your behavior, motivating and engaging your employees, and holding yourself and others accountable, you can make certain your company will be moving closer to where you want it to be.

As Jim Rohn said, “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” Which will you choose for your business in this coming year?