The need for meaningful New Year’s Resolutions is just around the corner. No doubt as individuals we want to limit our bad habit and expand our good ones, perhaps we are thinking more philanthropically and want to improve the lives of others or “give back” to our communities. No question we all want to be more present and supportive of our friends and families. All of these would improve our individual health and happiness.
We think it is also time for each of us to consider resolutions that can improve the health and happiness (in the form of sustainability and success) of the organization where we work, whether you are a board member, a senior leader, a manager, or an employee.
We asked several of our Grahall Partners what they suggest as possible resolutions that, if embraced and maintained, would improve organizational success. We hope these insights and ideas will help you to take stock of the year that has passed (or is about to) and reset the expectation you hold of yourself and how you can better help your organization in 2015.
Let’s start with boards. Now one would think that boards would be well positioned to handle resolutions, but perhaps some of these New Year’s resolutions will strike a new chord with your board. Nancy May of Board Bench provides a list of resolutions she believes would make 2015 a great year for many companies:
1) We will learn who are customers are, and what they really want from us.
2) We will learn what’s important to each type of shareholder that we have.
3) We will always weigh what our shareholders want against what’s best for the company’s long-term health.
4) We will remember that every stock market is rigged.
5) We will remember that stock price, quite often, does not depend on what we do, or don’t do.
6) We will remember that our self-evaluation conclusions are not impressive to savvy investors.
7) Remember that while transparency is in vogue, disclosure IS exposure.
8) Understand that diversity of thought is a given, not a goal. Rather, will seek diversity of perspective.
9) Keep in mind that no director will ever learn anything from another who agrees with him/her.
10) Remember that good corporate governance is people-driven, and will always be looked at by some with pride, with blame, with ridicule, annoyance, envy, and, by many, with never-ending hope.
It might seem a long list, and certainly some organizations have these considerations covered, but the importance of these items cannot be denied.
1) I will not send unnecessary emails that elicit more unnecessary emails.
2) I will respond to all important emails within 24 hours and will not ignore my vendors, customers, friends, etc.
3) I will finally deal with all those things that are on my to-do list for which I have procrastinated
4) I will not be in denial about the root cause issues of why things are the way they are and will be willing to fix them.
5) I will reach out each and every day and thank people around me for all the support they provide.
6) I will not make lists longer than 6 things to do at a time, because it is impossible for the human brain to juggle more than 6 things successfully.
Bob Birdsell offers a short but important list of resolutions that would be particularly useful to human resource professionals:
1) 2015 should be the year of the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid)
2) in 2015 avoid at all costs benefit obsolescence risk
Marvin Smith of Deliberate Synergy provides a list of 10 resolutions for senior leaders and managers that address issues from goal setting, to culture shaping, to overcoming problems.
1) I resolve to look for and commit to strategies where innovating can make a significant difference in business and organizational success
2) I will make my annual goals serve both the organization and the people who make it work and not just produce things that are good to make, but also good to use!
3) I will build the appropriate structure within my organization to serve customers, suppliers and the all people who “make it work”.
4) I will ensure that the blend between systems and individual autonomy is right for the values of the people of the 21st century and not let systems overwhelm creative thinking
5) I will maintain, hire and enrich my staff with the environment, tasks and resources needed to be high performing and reward them for things that matter.
6) I will create and maintain a culture that is conducive to the inevitable paradigm shifts and step changes.
7) I will identify the key interfaces in my organization and insure that those intersections are healthy so the organization can be nimble and move at the “speed of trust”.
8) I will have the difficult conversations about circumstances that could otherwise keep us away from extraordinary resolutions, new products, services and trusting relationships so we can move at the speed of trust; this may start with listening generously to dissenting voices
9) I will learn when it is appropriate to be out of my familiar corridors when appropriate and out of my head when the heart and the hands are what are needed
10) I will not let fear stop my efforts to overcome seemingly impossible problems.
My list of resolutions that would serve organizations is fairly short, and I have focused (except for the last item which is more broad-based) on ways the Human Resources function could enhance organizational success on the coming year. So HR professionals consider adding these to your list of New Year’s resolutions:
1) I will closely examine the compensation and benefits programs and make sure that they reinforce our strategies and contribute to making our workforce and your organization extraordinary.
2) I will help to create an environment of meritocracy with a pay for clear and relevant performance at its core especially because that is a differentiating factor.
3) I will make my voice (through my actions and recommendations) one that demands a “seat at the table.”
4) I will begin to measure and evaluate the value exchange for each and every stakeholder in my organization so that our resources are invested in ways that contribute to the success and sustainability of the organization.
5) And last for every manager and leaders in an organization: I will make certain my workforce and their capabilities are what are needed for my organization (department, division, etc.) to achieve its strategies.
Yes there are many, many possible resolutions listed above and each item is not relevant to every reader. So share the wealth! Certainly others in your organization (along with your organization as a whole) would benefit from resolving to do some of the things listed above. And honestly, isn’t it time as 2015 approaches for us to resolve to be better leaders, managers, and employees and to identify and follow through with resolutions that will improve us and the organizations for which we work.