Well it is January again, time for New Year resolutions. A time honored tradition that stems from our instinctive desire to improve ourselves. Problem is that resolutions often do not result in any real change. So here are some pointers for setting some professional resolutions that will result in positive change:

  • Focus on what you can control – Namely your behavior. Not the behavior of others. For example, not, “improve motivation of my employees,” and certainly not the environment (i.e., “increase market share by 20%”).
  • Change how you spend your time – How you spend time, i.e. “spend one hour a week meeting with junior employees”, is more directly under your control than improving your skills (i.e. “improve ability to develop staff”). Improving skill is often a long process, and may not always happen. Changing how you spend time is immediately doable.
  • Allocate time to making consistent progress on long term priorities – There are plenty of things that are important but not urgent, i.e. adoption of new technology, developing employees, expanding network etc. Often we don’t find time for non-urgent matters, but progress can be made with a small to moderate weekly focus.
  • Commit to small changes – Do not try to do too much too quickly. My general rule of thumb is no changes in time allocation over 5% of weekly time. For a fifty hour work week that is 2.5 hours or thirty minutes a day. 2.5% changes in time are more sustainable.

I could go on but I need to honor my resolution of shortening my bulleted lists.

Happy New Year!