It is unlikely that your journey through last year was the journey you anticipated on January 1, 2021. As you think ahead to this year, do you need to recommit to the vision and goals you had for last year, or do you need a fresh start in 2022?
Kouzes and Posner share:
Leaders search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative ways to improve the organization. In doing so, they experiment and take risks. Since complex change threatens to overwhelm people and stifle action, leaders set interim goals so that people can achieve small wins as they work toward larger objectives. Effective leaders unravel bureaucracy when it impedes action. And, because leaders know that taking risks involves mistakes and failures, they accept occasional disappointments as opportunities to learn.
What if I told you that your first big win for 2022 might be to focus on the next 12 weeks instead of the entire year? Brian P. Morgan and Michael Lennington, authors of “The 12 Week Year,” propose that people do not follow through with resolutions and goals because a year is too long a time for planning. “It creates an illusion that there is lots of time, which often results in procrastination, discouragement and failure.” Committing to something for 12 weeks is easier and much less overwhelming than an annual commitment.
As you think about your goals for 2022, try setting them for a 12-week year, breaking your goals into an action plan of daily and weekly steps. Spend 15 or 20 minutes of each week reviewing progress and plan for the next week by putting action steps in your calendar. Then spend five minutes each morning reviewing your goals for the week and rearrange your calendar accordingly. Finally, measure success not based on what you achieved, but on how many days you followed through on your commitments.
How will this strengthen your journey to Exemplary Leadership? Assume your goal is to Encourage the Heart. You cannot become an encouraging leader overnight, but you can determine the actions for each week of a 12-week year.
Here are some examples of tasks that could be included in your weekly action plans to encourage more:
- Identify what kind of praise or rewards your individual team members prefer.
- Identify opportunities you have to observe or hear about praiseworthy events.
- Ask for feedback – have each team member share what you need to change to be more positive, energetic, motivating, and inspiring. Thank each one for the feedback you received.
- Praise people immediately and be specific when you tell them what they did right and how it helps the organization.
- Think of creative ways to reward others for the work they do, then do it! Examples could be personalized notes, your time to help on a project or assignment, food, or a surprise.
- Learn one new thing that is important to every team member and find ways to keep the discussion alive through comments and questions.
- Show you care on a personal level about each person you work with and use this as a time to add praise.
Be sure and set realistic goals (small wins) for your 12-week year. The best news is you can start the new year any time you wish. Isn’t now the perfect time?