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Leadership New Year Resolutions (NYRs)

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Now that January is coming to a close, I take the time to reflect on the progress I have made on my NYRs and do one of two things; celebrate that I have remained committed to my self-control to ‘change’ certain habits or behaviors OR, more frequently, feel disappointed that I have reverted back to my old ways because change was just too hard to make in the midst of a busy schedule to start the year. What I, like many other people, struggle with is 'How much change can one make to be sustainable or actionable?’ Why is it that by July those NYRs have been long forgotten, ready to be made again the following year? I know for me ‘change’ needs to be incremental, where I can see small progress along the way, and therefore remain committed to the NYRs so it becomes a ’new normal’. (FYI - for me this was eliminating sugar and bread from my diet………..not easy on those snowy -25 degree days in Madison where I crave comfort food!)


As a Leader, making positive change is a necessary part of the role and should not be reserved for merely a 'once-a-year' resolution. Leadership behavior ‘change’ should be constantly adjusted, making small tweaks that translates to a positive work environment and culture that people want to be part of. 

To effect your changes, you need to adopt a framing strategy and mind set. I categorize these small tweaks into the ‘3 Cs’ which, to me, are the simple, yet critical, success factors of leadership:

  1. Care - connecting with others to show that you value them, not just as a pay-role number and contributor to the business, but as a ‘whole’ person with a life outside of working for you/your company.

  2. Candor - courage to have real conversations to address the realities and challenges in working in the fast-paced corporate world, which demands a sense of urgency, performance, and accountability.

  3. Command - confidence to make decisions that are practical, inclusive, and will ultimately ensure strong follower-ship that will drive longterm business success. 

The reality is, most employees fear change, but if you are connected to your team, speak truthfully to them and in a respectful manor that tells them “You are on the right bus”, then reception to change is greatly increased. They trust you and will buy into your 'why change' strategy and future vision.

So, now that 2019 is officially on a roll and you are evaluating what small tweaks you can make to your leadership, ask yourself these questions:

  • How ‘connected’ are you to your internal customers to make them feel valued and an important part of your organization? What is ONE thing you do to better understand what motivates them? 

  • When was the last time you had a ‘real conversation’ with someone in your team to demonstrate that you care and are invested in their success? How have you set (or reset) performance expectations, so your team knows what they are aiming for?

  • Who do you include in your business conversations or meetings to ensure strong representation across all commercial functions, and each function is bought into (or at least aware of) your strategic/tactical plan for the year?

These may seem like very basic questions, but the disconnect in one or all of these leadership success factors in the fast-paced, competitive marketplace leads to longterm dysfunction in company culture, talent attrition, and ultimately, performance challenges. The best advice I ever got from one of my mentors was “First thing to remember daily when you get to the office, is that people come first, emails can wait”. Connect with your team (often) and if you work remotely, give them a call!


Happy (belated) New Year!

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