"I never lose. I either win or learn" - Nelson Mandela
Regardless of the results you either achieved or didn’t achieve throughout the year, what were your key learnings from 2018 and what you’d like to do differently or better in 2019?
For many, the end of December means not only the halfway mark of the calendar year but also the business year. Therefore, the Christmas break is the perfect time to reflect, recharge and reset.
I was discussing this very topic with a customer (Tom who’s a senior manager) last week. Tom communicated the key achievements he and his team had accomplished throughout the year he was quite proud of. When I asked Tom: “What would you do differently if you had your time over again?” Tom expressed his major learning was how his constant demands for perfection was holding back progress, himself and his team. It was a bit of a lightbulb moment for Tom.
What was apparent for Tom was despite himself and his team being crazy busy, he felt they were less effective in December. Now there’s a significant difference between having a lot to do and doing a lot. I shared with Tom how employee engagement software company Peakon surveyed 2,000 workers to quantify employee effectiveness for the month of December. What emerged was productivity decreased for 15% of workers by December 1 and for 57% of workers by December 18. While there’s a myriad of reasons why this occurs, the most common reason is workers are simply fatigued at this time of the year. Therefore, it’s important to take advantage of the Christmas break to refresh and recharge.
For Tom’s expectations of perfection, we discussed strategies to identify the warning signs and actions to take. It was clear there were a few activities where 100% perfection was an absolute necessity. However, 90% plus accuracy for most activities would be more than an acceptable standard, and due to Tom’s high standards, would be similar quality to what others in the organisation would define as virtually 100%. That was a mindset shift for Tom that he expects will unlock the potential of his team to be even more effective going forward.
As much as things change, they can also stay the same if we’re not careful. To hit the ground running and launch into 2019, it’s important to reflect, recharge and reset. I’d love to hear what you learnt from 2018.