How Will You Still Be Improving on Sept 22?

Tomorrow is January 1, the start of a new year. If you’re like me, you’ll weigh every word you say against the blank slate of a fresh start. You’ll be kind, reasonable to a fault, and clear-headed as you work toward your resolutions.

The intensity of January 1 resolutions often fades away in the rush of obligations, as our humanity and fallibility creep back into our behavior.

I suggest we take a note from Buffer’s page. The social media management application guides itself by six core values. One of those values is “improve consistently.” The value includes subtopics such as, “We desire to be better tomorrow than today, knowing that improvement can be found in small changes.”

Buffer employees say they live out this value through such activities as prioritizing reading and incorporating a transparent salary system.

In the spirit of helping you think about your leadership goals for all of 2019, not just the year’s first day, I created three dates from a random number generator. These are the leadership-related thoughts each date sparked for me and how they can help teams continuously improve.

March 9

March 9, 2019, will be a Saturday. If the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year included self-care and making loved ones a priority when you were off the clock, this is a day to keep your promise to yourself. Part of Buffer’s “improve consistently” value includes the staff members’ goal of being “fully disconnected when we’re not working.”

Mathilde Collin, CEO of Front, disconnected from technology in order to enjoy her honeymoon. She says she is aware that her employees follow her leadthat, “After all, if ‘the boss’ can respond to email during their honeymoon vacation in the middle of the Sahara desert, who has a good excuse for not doing so — right?”

What kind of example are you being for those who are watching you?

April 12

April 12, 2019, will be a Friday. You’ll be at the beginning of the second quarter, and the newness is likely to have worn off those resolutions. According to US News, 80% of resolutions will fail by the second week of February—and here it is April.

Make this Friday a day to revisit the resolve you felt on January 1, and encourage your team members to do the same. Daniel Lubetsky, CEO of the snack company Kind, says he chooses to say “not now” instead of “no” to enticing initiatives. “Not now doesn't mean not ever; it just means that we'll get to it once we're done accomplishing whatever we're focused on today.”

Is your team still on track to the focus it committed to on January 1? Are you?

September 22

September 22, 2019, will be a Sunday. Many of us make resolutions that include starting off each work week in a positive way. For many people, that means counteracting Monday dread.

“Ultimately, you don’t have control over your employees’ feelings about coming back to work on Monday,” writes Terra Vicario of Viventium. However, writes Vicario, a strategy such as scheduling “creative time” toward the end of the day on Monday can help unlock people’s brains and foster constructive team activity while improving the mood.

How does your Sunday improve your team’s Monday?

When You Look Back on 2019

A Saturday, a Friday, and a Sunday. Three dates that don’t have the symbolic meaning of “January 1,” but will be equally important to your leadership effectiveness next year.

Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO of Bumble, says she relies on the “concept of nine,” noting, “If it isn't going to matter in nine minutes, nine hours or nine days from now, you need to not pay attention to it.”

Will you still be continuously working on the things that mattered during the first month of the year when the ninth rolls around?

Leave a comment and let me know how you will make that happen. (And Happy New Year!)

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