…because they fail. In fact by the time this read this, you’re probably on the downward slide with some of your best intentions.
Instead, an article about new beginnings. January is a great month for a do-over. You get a chance to do better at things that didn’t go quite to plan the previous year and to make a start on things you know will propel you to success this year. If you’re looking for small changes to invest some energy in and see a quick return – here are some ideas we see successful people taking on and flying with, time and time again.
- Get your head right and everything else follows. The right mind-set is essential before you get going with any actions. Attitude breeds behaviour – we all have an attitude (some more irritating than others) so it’s worth exploring yours before you unleash it on the rest of your world. We favour a mind-set high on both support and challenge. Support means you encourage care, a sense of belonging, shared responsibility, a good atmosphere and general feeling of fabulousness all round. Challenge means you encourage active and constructive debate, ask searching questions, look for better ways and hold people to account for results, rather than speaking with one voice and nodding furiously like those doggies that hang in cars when what you’re really thinking is the opposite of what you’re agreeing to. That way you create a high support and high challenge team environment and encourage commitment and energy. Easy to say, harder to do. Too much challenge without support and you create stress, tension and people watching their backs. Too much support without challenge and you wade through a marshmallow field of loveliness, missing trick after trick as your competitors clean up. So think about what you may consider doing to nudge your attitude to where it needs to be.
- Triggers and reinforcers. Sometimes, we unwittingly encourage the very behaviours we wish we didn’t have. Have you ever told someone you welcome new ideas and then laughed like a drain when they came up with one? Or asked someone to deputise for you at a meeting and act autonomously after which you hound them for a word-for-word account of what they did and why? If so, don’t be surprised if they’re reluctant to come forward with another idea or volunteer for a delegated task. If you really want certain behaviours think first – “How can I trigger these behaviours?” then “Once I get them, how do I reinforce them so I get them again?” This is a good process for encouraging and bedding in effective behaviours. So, let’s say you do want ideas, first you need to think of ways to trigger them – at a meeting or in a conversation, let’s say. And then if and when you get them, you welcome them, critique them intelligently and if they get used, you credit the creator of the idea with that success. Voila – you’ve just reinforced the behaviour you wanted. So identify what behaviours you want around you and look to yourself for the right ways to get them and keep them.
- Get your own house in order. You can’t lead, manage or work well unless you’re fighting fit yourself. This is not a cue to recommend healthy diet and exercise and the odd early night. It’s a plea to invest time and yes, sometimes money in support for you. This is second nature to the best out there. They all have a place to go where they can sound off, discuss problems, solve them and come back stronger. They all have coaches, mentors, chief confessors – call them what you like, they are experts at listening, asking powerful questions and creating space for people to recover, talk and plan. If you don’t have a place to go to get this sort of support, consider it and make it a priority. That way, you get to restore any depleted resources away from the eyes and ears of people who might judge you for being off your game. And in turn, your fellow team members and colleagues get the best of you which frankly, they are entitled to.
So this January consider these and other ideas and what they might do for you in the year ahead. Anything that makes you wiser, swifter and yes – happier – has got to show up in your results. It’s all about staying current – New Year’s resolutions are so last year.