The Big Three.
I always take the last few days of each year to reflect back and think about what went well in the previous 12 months, what could be improved upon, and what is important as I start a new year.
Certainly, several things went well in 2009, and there are areas to improve. I have come to really appreciate the areas that creep up that could use a little attention and refinement. I believe it is in these situations that we really grow and business really has the opportunity to improve.
I always use this time to re-evaluate priorities and examine what is important to me in business. It's not a task to be taken lightly; if done well, it will provide the foundation for how you move forward in your business, how you treat others and ultimately, the reputation your business will acquire.
Some colleagues draft a list that is as long as it is ambitious. I know one colleague that prefers to pick one priority, and focus all attention in that direction. I have always found three priorities to be a valuable and manageable direction for the next 12 months. As such, I'm pleased to present my "Big Three":
1. Allow people the creative freedom to foster an environment that will help them flourish.
I work with several "creative types"- from graphic designers to packaging gurus and it is the creative talent of the individual that makes the work outstanding. Working 8:00-5:00 Monday through Friday almost never lends itself well to these folks. If they do their best work from midnight-7am, so be it. As long as they're not responsible for answering the phone or attending client meetings, and as long as the work is done, and done well, it's easy to become less concerned with when and how it's accomplished.
2. Treat everyone with respect.
I know how I like to be treated, and how I don't like to be treated. When you move through each day valuing how you treat others- from clients to vendors to the barista- the day just seems to go a bit smoother. There's two ways to look at this: The first is a bit selfish and centers on taking the path of least resistance. A little courtesy never hurt anyone. The second shows that you truly value each and every person and what they bring to your day. The way I see it, either way it's a win for me.
3. Have fun!
Sometimes this is easier to say than do. But, we all have choices to make. If our work isn't fun, it's time to move over and let someone else try their hand. Life is short. And more often than not, when I've found myself in a situation that isn't terribly fun, a minor shift in perspective can make it not only fun, but often very funny.
Happy holidays. And here's to your "Big Three".