Keep Your Organization On Track – Year End Tip

 John Ruh  Business Planning, Chicago Business Consultant

by Todd Stukenberg

Setting Business Goals for 2019The end of the calendar year brings lots of change to our “normal” routines. The holidays come and bring social events, shopping obligations and even over-eating. We also have scheduled time for business closings and vacation time, changing the work environment.

As leaders, we are still charged with ensuring that our organizations are performing well, despite some of the aforementioned distractions. Amidst all of these “breaks” from our routine, also creeps in another critical element for all of us that must be acknowledged: stress. These added demands of the season create stress for the people you lead, the people they lead, and you. So how can we prepare or manage through this time and help our teams do the same, ensuring that the end of the year demands are met and that the “joy” of the season can also be experienced?

<h2>Here are a few tips for leaders to manage the season and your obligations:</h2>

  1. Be clear up front, early in the season (prior to November 1) what initiatives, goals, tasks and expectations are still outstanding and must be met before the end of the year. Communicate this to the team at a macro level, but also communicate it to individuals in the regular coaching sessions that are being held (they are being held, aren’t they???).
  2. Be sure to hold a session (or multiple sessions) to express thanks and appreciation to the team for the year’s successes. Acknowledge them, big and small and linger on those successes. Have a lunch, breakfast or snack break to show a token of that appreciation.
  3. In a separate session, constructively discuss those things that need improvement for the upcoming year. Let the team address them, discuss them and offer ways to improve. Don’t use this as a means to castigate, but rather as learning and progress. Don’t linger.
  4. Be clear with everyone who will be out and when they will be out to enjoy their holidays. That way, if something is needed, it can be address before anyone is out on time off, and not while they are out (in other words, leave them alone!).
  5. Set up the schedule for a kickoff meeting after the first of the year where the team will review results and more importantly, communicate and set in action critical initiatives to meet the new year’s game plan.
  6. Set aside some pure social time just prior to people’s time off. Everyone needs that time as a group, and it helps to minimize individual distractions. If budgets allow, provide a small token of appreciation (gift cards are great) for everyone on the team.
  7. Take some time for yourself to do three things:
    1. Review the past year.
    2. Plan for your personal plan for the upcoming year.
    3. Recharge – Encourage your team to take this personal time as well.

As leaders, we are sometimes programmed to “press on” regardless of distractions. The holidays should not be that time. Set this time of the year right, and it can be both enjoyable and productive!

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