New Year Intentions and Resources for Business
Things you might question if they are valuable or not:
- Staff meetings – are they just a verbal status report or is there more you could do? Can you take some of the admin items to email and spend a moment acknowledging what is going RIGHT for the team?
- Leaning on people – do you assume that your top performers are fine because they don’t complain? Maybe check in with them to see if they are really ok and if you need to work with them to help balance the workload.
- Trying to be perfect – is a key one for me. When I try to be perfect, I communicate that perfectionism to everyone on my team. I can be compassionate with others all day long, but if I model perfectionism within myself, that intolerance for flaws gets passed down to my team.
- Adding things to the list – do you think you are an unlimited box of doing? Again, maybe that’s just me. The amount of things that I have on my daily to-do list far exceeds my ability to get things done. A key trap for me is adding things to the list without taking anything off. It’s easy to do this to ourselves and our team. If you add something to the list, perhaps take a pause and see if there’s something else you can move around to make room for it.
- People who drain you. Do you have people in your life that you are in the habit of talking with at length that simply drains your life? Perhaps it’s someone you’ve had in your life for a long time. It can be very tough, but maybe it’s time to let them go or back away. If you don’t have the energy to give them (think of it as a charitable donation), then don’t. You need to invest that positive energy into yourself and your team.
Checklist for the new you in the new year.
- Be a beginner. If you were starting your job today, what would you be looking forward to? What new skills or connections can your job give you? What would you assume is possible? Try on your role with fresh eyes and see what looks different.
- Reverse your role. Are you a manager who works hard to take care of others? Try treating yourself the way you treat others. Are you someone who’s frustrated with tiny flaws? Look at the situation from the person’s view. Maybe a little compassion is in order. For the major players in your world, what’s it like to be them?
- Set your routine. What are the elements that make you feel focused and centered? I start my day with meditation, say “Happy Birthday” to my friends on social media and review the news. By the time I hit the chair for work, I feel good. What do you need to feel ready to go each day? Give yourself that. Even if it’s only 10 minutes a day.
- Take breaks. I know it’s hard to take breaks when we’re all working at home and there’s no walk to the water cooler. Do it anyway. Try this. Soften you’re the focus of your eyes so that what’s in front of you is fuzzy but you can still see the periphery. Take three long breaths. Feel better? You should. A hard visual focus tells your body that danger is near, while a soft-focus activates your parasympathetic nervous system causing you to relax. Try taking this 30-second break every hour or so. I’ve been practicing it for a couple of weeks and it really helps. I find that I need to set an alarm sometimes because if I don’t, I’ll just power through.
- Notice the highs and lows. At the end of your day, ask yourself two simple questions. Who or what energized you? Who or what drained you? When I first started my company, I thought I loved project management. No. What I loved was the team engagement. I had to separate out the activity (project management) from the environment (team engagement).
- Keep promises to yourself. Make yourself a promise to lean into the things that light you up and reduce the things that don’t. Just making that promise to leave the annoying call 5 minutes early or linger over that great article will give you so much. One advisor asked me “how would you feel if someone kept breaking promises to you?” “Terrible,” I answered. That same concept applies to ourselves. Do you make promises to yourself that you don’t keep? I know I do. I’m working to do better at that because it feels so good to know I can count on myself the way I know others can count on me.
Here are some great resources to support us all in our fresh start for the New Year.
Focusing on employee well-being boosts performance. This study draws the connection between a focus on taking care of employees and employee performance. It’s not fluffy, it’s practical and pragmatic. Employees who are well-cared-for perform better (that includes you and me!)
Women at work. Are you working with women? Are you a woman? This study shows how Covid has impacted women in particular. Don’t fall for the “I’m fine” response from yourself or others. Let’s have some compassion and bring good tools to the table to help us all cope better.
How mindfulness helps engineers. Mindfulness and math geeks are not often found in the same room. This Harvard Business Review article maps the ways that practicing mindfulness helps even the most rational thinkers.
Nine ways to have deeper conversations. One of the things I miss with Zoom calls is the chance to have that casual “how are you doing, REALLY?” conversation. This article highlights nine key ways to up your game in having deeper conversations no matter the circumstances.