2020 was a year of unique challenges. Most likely, the goals and resolutions you set at the end of 2019 did not work out exactly as planned. As we look ahead in 2021, what lessons can we as leaders learn about setting effective goals and making resolutions that matter? Here are five simple resolutions that will help any manager navigate the path to success in the new year.
- Listen to Your Customers and Employees. Find out what did or did not work in your organization in 2020 and get suggestions for improvements from the people that know best—your internal and external stakeholders. The best way to find out what your customers want and need is to ask them. Get their feedback about adjustments made in the past year and find out what worked well and what could be done differently. Ask employees for candid feedback about their biggest obstacle at work and what they need to make their job easier or more efficient. Remember, leaders not only listen to these ideas, but they also follow up with action.
- Be Flexible. While making detailed and strategic plans is necessary as a leader, but also expect the unexpected. Every good plan should incorporate some flexibility and include options for multiple scenarios. In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. There is a very great distinction because when you are planning for an emergency, you must start with this one thing: the very definition of ‘emergency’ is that it is unexpected. Therefore it is not going to happen the way you are planning.” Be ready to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
- Focus on Leadership Development. Invest in your organization’s future by developing the leaders of tomorrow. The next year will be unlike any year before, and every organization will need leaders skilled in communication, problem-solving, and change management. Investing in a leadership training program will ensure that your managers develop the skills they need to lead effective, productive teams that will ultimately improve your bottom line.
- Define Your Purpose. Every organization needs a reason for being that goes deeper than just making a profit. A well defined corporate purpose can unite stakeholders and shareholders around common values. A 2020 corporate social responsibility survey revealed that consumers are 77% more willing to purchase a company’s products or services if they demonstrate a commitment to addressing social, economic, and environmental issues. In the months to come, leaders that make decisions that align with a greater purpose will build trust and loyalty with both employees and customers.
- Strengthen Your Resilience. Leaders must manage their energy and mindset to perform at their best. Prioritize self-care like exercise, sleep, and social connection, and prevent employee burnout by encouraging your team to do the same. There will be setbacks and disappointments in the months to come, and the world will need leaders that can recover quickly and find opportunities in difficulties.