Out With the Old in With the New

Happy New Year! So now what?  You’ve celebrated safely over the holidays and wandered back to your “routine” life, what now? New Years is usually a time in the year that we make resolutions or at least most of us are thinking about change. This year might be a little different given our current times but it’s still a worth doing because the alternative will only produce more of the same this year. That is to say that not reviewing where you’ve succeeded and failed in the past can catch up to you in a bad way. If last year was awesome for your business and or career then you’ll resist this but you may still find something valuable here.


In my home the first thing we do on New Year’s day is take down all of our Holiday decorations. Next we clean the house and trash everything we definitely don’t need, including all that rich food. Lastly, we sit down as a family or as many as we can gather and read little pieces of paper from the “Good Things Jar” – a massive glass jar formerly home to massive pickles but now an annual stopover for our best memories of the year. That is to say that we write down all the good things and memories of the year on little pieces of paper. It’s a great tradition and always makes us grateful for what we have and or did because we all know how easy it is to forget in this fast moving time of ours. 


This tradition, with a few tweaks and adjustments, can be good for your business or career as a way to reflect, renew, and reset. On a side note, while this is a good time (the turning of the calendar) it can be done in more abbreviated ways throughout the year. Once the year starts it’s hard to stop and do this but it is one of the best practices of some of the top executives, employers, successful sales people that I’ve worked with in my 35 year career. 


Old Year Tips


Reflection requires honesty, it doesn’t make sense to be any other way if you mean to improve on something or get rid of it. 


Don’t overload your mind it will just stress you out. Take a few of the highlights from the good and not so good category and just look at them one at a time. 


Once you have your list its time to ask questions. Why ask questions; because we’re hard wired to give or get answers. However there are bad (emotionally based) questions to ask like “why did my staff member screw up” or “why did I fail here” you may think that the question is reasonable but not if it gives you lousy answers that don’t lead to productive results. 


Questions like – what worked with my clients and why, or what didn’t work and how could I improve on that next time may lead you to some amazing changes or it may just confirm that what you are doing is great so don’t change a thing. I suggest you break it down to areas of your business or job like the list below. 


  • Products
  • Services
  • Sales/Marketing
  • Productivity
  • Recruitment
  • Culture


Once you’ve completed this process you should have some valuable information with which you can now set goals or make plans to improve on your topics. I don’t generally like to have “regular” meetings because they become too routine for everyone including those running the meetings but having a kick off meeting to the year is a no-brainer and is a good place to share those goals or directions you mean to go with your team. 


If something needs improvement say it, but I caution you against assigning blame or pointing a finger to one individual in a group setting. If you do need to address something specific with someone specific then take that into a private one on one and make the point there. I use we or our or us in group settings so that it allows for everyone to be accountable including the speaker, you. 


Also point out the goods and lift up your team about it. It means they were doing something right and you can never go too far in catching people doing something right! Some companies offer incentives for achieving performance benchmarks or align it with pay increases – I think it can be a good motivator but keep in mind the thin line between doing their job right and going that extra mile. If you have a keen sight on which is which you’ll most likely come to that decision on your own.    


The winter holiday break is a good time to re-organize your office, shop or workspace but this can be a regular thing too. Clutter in your inbox, desk, walls, work vehicles, etc is easily amassed over the course of a year and if you don’t take the time to do this very simple task (less than 45 min) you pay incrementally for the lost time that disorganization causes.   


Creating culture in a office or business is difficult with so many varied personalities working in all kinds of areas of the business. But like in our household traditions are looked forward to even by the hardest of critics – in fact they get after us to make sure they do happen. So while it feels a little odd make the effort to create “traditions” in your business that everyone looks forward to and gets after you to keep going. 


ERTH Source is an HR Consulting Firm that specializes in recruiting for small businesses that don’t have their own HR professional. We offer assessments for business processes that are built around your staff because today “retention is king”. If you would like to set up an online or in-person Covid-Safe meeting please reach out.