My January column for the Kitsap Sun….
The clock has passed into a new year amid the hangover of a bustling holiday season full of parties, gifts, revelations, and resolutions. Now it’s back to business with a fresh outlook filled with hope and expectation.
There’s a certain “back to reality” perception that obscures our emotions whenever January rolls around. It’s human nature. Everyone is now done wishing you a “Happy New Year” and loads of joy, prosperity, and success. The challenge is that now the hard work begins to convert those well-intentioned wishes into reality. My question for you is – are you buying or selling?
Nothing magical happens when time shifts from December 31 to January 1. The wish for “happy” results knows no set time or place. Your attitude, mindset, and level of discipline are what will result in consistent and sustained success. Those 3 factors determine whether you’re buying or selling on the concept and reality of a “Happy New Year.” Too many business people actually are “selling” on that concept.
Here are 5 signs on whether you are unwittingly bailing out – or “selling” – on a “Happy New Year:”
- You’ve invested nothing in personal growth and development. That means no investment of time or money for you or your people in growing your minds, your skills, or your habits.
- You choose not to review your practices, procedures, and activities. Just because you’ve always done it the same way doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Those that never look for a better way often fade into complacency.
- You fail to invest in marketing. Every company is reliant on acquiring new business. Failing to stay creative and bold in marketing results in stagnation and obsolescence.
- Company culture isn’t a priority. As much as “culture” has become a buzzword in business, there is still much evidence that it hasn’t caught on everywhere. Overlooking the importance of it can lead to dire consequences.
- Recruiting and hiring are done on an “as needed basis.” Hiring people out of desperation rarely works.
Any of these maladies look familiar? Whether you run a gigantic company or are the boss of just yourself, any of these factors will interfere with your desire to have a successful and prosperous year. At the very least, you won’t be maximizing what you can accomplish. Let’s fix these problems and swap to “buying” through a changed attitude, mindset, and discipline.
- Commit to professional growth by putting your money and time where your mouth is. Decide what you’re going to do to improve yourself and your team. Is it coaching and mentoring? Is it skills based training? Is it virtual workshops or attending conferences? Map out what you’re going to do this year and then find the time and finances for it. Pull out your calendar and schedule professional development now. It’s too easy to put off and then complain that you ran out of time. Professional growth is an attitude (priority), a mindset (always striving to learn more) and a discipline (actually doing it).
- Schedule time to review your practices. I just met in December with a new client that committed to this strategy. It takes vulnerability and humility, yet it’s worth the effort. It’s too easy to get caught in the “same old, same old.” This concept breathes a fresh perspective on your activities and uncovers areas that you can enhance or add for your benefit. Make sure you have an outside expert helping you or otherwise you get caught breathing your own exhaust. Make the most of your time spent and implement your new practices.
- Focus on building your brand. My professional mentor Alan Weiss has always said that, “If you don’t toot your own horn, there is no music.” You have value to offer through your products and services. You have the ability to improve the conditions and lives of others, but they need to know you exist. Don’t get caught in the snare of thinking that you can get by with your current base of clients or else one day you may find that your pipeline has run dry. Brand building requires consistency, patience, and discipline. It may be the most important business activity you perform.
- Create a fun environment. Employees invest a huge chunk of their lives in a company. If it’s dreary and dull, the results will be poor performance and high turnover. It doesn’t take much to exponentially improve a culture. Even adding a modicum of fun into the daily grind can enhance an entire company attitude. More on this topic next month.
- Always be recruiting. The worst thing that can happen to a company is to hire out of desperation. Recruiting must be a regular executive function. The focus should be on finding good people that add value and diversity to your business. Most skills can be taught; seek out individuals that enrich your company. Even if you have to hire without a spot in place, you build better bench strength and grow the quality of your people.
Bottom line: You are either buying or selling on your success and significance in 2016. Making a conscience effort to acknowledge that and prepare your attitude, mindset, and discipline to guide your efforts is the first step in making sure all those that wished you a “Happy New Year” will have been prophets.
Are you buying or selling?
Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps business leaders and executives to become stronger leaders, grow their businesses, and enrich their lives. He was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant™ Hall of Fame in 2012. You can reach Dan at 360-697-1058; e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his web site at www.DanWeedin.com.