Albert Einstein defined ‘insanity’ as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Maybe you actually had a great year last year, so you think ‘I’ll just do that again’, but then you have to consider that maybe your competitors will improve on their last year’s performance or maybe your customers will have different expectations.
I have a maxim in business, which is that if you’re not moving forwards, you’re slipping backwards. Things never just stay the same – there is always movement or change and either growth or decline. It’s one of the world’s natural laws, so if you want to just stick your head in the sand and hope things will carry on as they always have, you may just be in for a shock.
(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net)
“I have a maxim in business, which is that if you’re not moving forwards, you’re slipping backwards.”
One of the greatest skills to master if you want to be a better-than-average manager is the ability to work in four time dimensions simultaneously.
1) The Past Dimension– Review past performance and analyse how you could have done ‘it’ better. I say ‘you’ because a key realisation is that you must accept responsibility for your outcome whatever the circumstances. That might seem harsh – “What about external factors beyond my control?” you argue. Okay, you can’t plan for the unknowable, but you could theoretically plan for every conceivable contingency. More important though is not what happens, but how you react when it does. That element of choice means that your response is open to review and therefore open to the possibility of improvement. Always seek to learn from the past and for leverage, learn from other peoples’ experience (O.P.E.).
2) The Future Dimension– Commit to keeping up to date – in terms of your professional development, both personally and as a team, with any new technology, innovations or inventions; and in terms of forecasting trends, changing market forces or shifts in perception, attitudes or behaviour patterns in society as a whole and specifically as it applies to your market. Develop plans and work towards your desired outcomes.
3) The Present Dimension– Discipline yourself and your team to do the best you can, every day, at all of the little things as well as the big things, for a series of little things over time will make a big difference. This is where the exceptional manager lives most of the time – in the present, but with half an eye on the lessons of the past and with another half an eye on the path toward the future goals.
4) The Creative Dimension – This is where you look through your ‘third eye’. This dimension is where the exceptional leader can visit the super-power consciousness, connect with his or her inner instinct and create new outcomes that may previously have been inconceivable. This area is probably available to most people but only if they truly seek it, develop it and learn to trust in it and act on it. The reality is that most leaders fall short in one or more of those facets, so they don’t access or capitalise on that secret resource.
The creative dimension is the playground of the gifted, but always remember that even they were once beginners, mere apprentices in the craft of excellence.
Returning then to the title question of ‘What will you do differently this year?’ – I ask it because it seems timely to do so. In reality, it’s always timely to do so, but in our culture it often appears as if the world stops to celebrate Christmas and the New Year, so the hiatus favours introspective reviews and the re-evaluation of objectives, goals and strategy.
It’s that time of year to re-organise the office, update the goal boards, reflect on the changes required in all areas- systems, technology, people, products or services, marketing and finance.
Underpinning all of that are your values, your vision and your purpose. Without clarity on those you are like a ship drifting at the mercy of the tides. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to call me.
(Image courtesy of 1-shots at freedigitalphotos.net)
This may just be the year that you will look back on as the biggest turning point of your life. That depends on what you do next. Either way, remember to make the most of your gift – that’s why it’s called ‘the present’.
Until next time – ‘Seize the day!’