click image to zoomNeill Ducoff Here we are at the end of 2013. The New Year is a time for reflection on what was and looking forward to what will be. For Strategies, 2013 was an amazing and record-breaking year. It was also our 20th anniversary that we celebrated with parties in Chicago, Austin and at Strategies Business Academy in Centerbrook, CT--all at the same time. Using Skype video, I thanked my amazing team and Coaches for helping me change the lives of business owners around the country. And what better way to wrap up our 20th year than having the honor to be on the cover of Salon Today magazine with a feature story on Strategies? It was truly an amazing year.
Just as a year-end Profit and Loss Statement tallies the score for your efforts, determination and discipline, it also gives you insights on what needs to improve and change in your company. You analyze the data and the thinking and behavior that created it. You make decisions on what must change. You ponder and develop new strategies. You create a game plan for the coming year. These are simply resolutions - promises to create a better tomorrow by doing things differently.
Stretch your abilities: We grow as leaders and individuals by challenging ourselves to improve and master new skills. If numbers aren't your friends, make peace with them. If you view many of the responsibilities of leading people as "confrontational" and therefore avoid them, learn the skills of navigating difficult conversations. We all have stuff we need to work on and improve, but like diets and exercise, you have to start and stick with your efforts at self-improvement.
Lead with your mind and your heart: As leaders, we want the best for those we lead. But leading with your heart alone will allow people to take advantage of you. Generosity and saying "yes" to everything doesn't buy loyalty or performance. Like too much of anything good, it ceases to be appreciated and respected. No-compromise leaders lead with their minds and hearts. The mind weighs the outcomes and potential risks. The mind asks, "Is this good for the company and does it support its culture?" Sometimes the best decisions for the good of the company and its culture may have to disappoint a few people.
Get one BHAG across the finish line: Come on, admit it - you have at least one Big Hairy Audacious Goal that's been on the back burner for too long. BHAGs are exciting and often the best strategy to really pull a team together. Achieving something big is empowering. It's what lifts a company to that elusive next level. What's your BHAG for 2014? Sketch it out and get it started in the first quarter. No compromise.