In the last two weeks, we’ve all spoken to old friends and made promises to definitely stay in closer contact this year. We’ve promised our families, and ourselves, that we’ll give up smoking, get more sleep, work smarter, eat healthier and spend more time with our kids. Most of us remember making the same promises last year and look how that turned out.
These sentimental, festive undertakings usually go by the wayside as soon as the decorations come down and we’re back to the grind. This is usually because we’re too ambitious in setting ourselves impossibly long lists of ‘wishes’ rather than a few simple things to actually do.
We also tend to overlook our work selves when we compile our New Year’s resolutions but it’s important to make sure that we apply the same discipline at the office as we do at home. Here are five, small, simple, achievable resolutions each of us can make and keep at work in 2013, so that we, and our brands and businesses don’t slip up as so many did in 2012.
- Get connected
Your business likely involves social media, mobile solutions and technical innovation. Whatever your position, age and experience, you need to be better connected. If you are proposing a social media solution to a client, doesn’t it seem odd that, although you have a Twitter account, you’ve only tweeted four times, and they were all posted during the Olympics? You don’t need to be on every channel, the most technically astute, or the most prolific poster, but you need to be in the game. Get connected and stay connected. It should go without saying that we need to understand the services we are selling. Make Tuesday your tweet day and post 52 tweets and 52 retweets during the course of the year.
- Keep it simple
Do you feel like you’re always in meetings and never have enough time to do your actual job? Collaboration and the exchange of ideas are, of course, essential but there has been a general slide into oversharing and overanalysing, to the point where we take our collective eye off the ball. Be bold, decisive and just get on with it. Do try having half your internal meetings standing up and see how much shorter and more efficient they can be.
- Be good
We all think of ourselves as good parents, partners, friends and neighbours, but are we that bothered about our ‘goodness’ at work? Too often in the workplace we rate power, ruthlessness and aggression above our ‘civilian’ values. Brands win big when they’re seen to be good and lose bigger when they’re perceived to be bad - Starbucks anyone? Nurturing in the workplace is positive and commercially sensible. Encouraging talent, creativity and ideas is good for your business, your clients’ businesses and good for the soul. At the strategic level, why not adopt a charity which aligns with your business? On a personal level make Thursday your walkabout day and make a point of visiting people instead of e-mailing or phoning.
- Widen your horizons
In its most basic form, widening your horizons is as simple as being on your iPad on the way into work and reading a magazine on the way home. Reading, tweeting, sharing, and debating can all be done online and on the move - make the most of this downtime. In 2013, just do one more thing a week to keep yourself informed and broaden your understanding. Buy a different newspaper every Monday and start the week by looking at the world through someone else’s eyes. Or better still, subscribe to The Week.
- Trust your instincts
Trusting your instinct isn’t always easy, especially if clients have other ideas. You might be swimming against the tide of opinion, but it’s your responsibility to listen to what your heart and mind are telling you and speak out. Do write down your gut instinct conclusion right at the start of an interview, research debrief, or client meeting and then check back at the end. As you see how often your first thought coincides with your considered opinion you’ll gain increased confidence in your judgement calls.
These five resolutions aren’t difficult, unattainable goals. All that is required is a decision. The most successful resolutions aren’t about becoming something - fitter, thinner, more charitable - they’re about doing something: eating less, moving more, giving more.
It’s the same at work. None of us is judged in our private or professional lives on what we say, but on what we do. And here’s my final tip - re-set your most-used password to remind you of your most important resolution for 2013.
Happy Do Year.