“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”
– Chris Grosser
Can you believe it’s almost the end of the year?! At this time of year most of us are wondering where the months have gone, and feeling a bit tired as we wind toward year end.
So how do we maintain momentum, gain energy and ensure we finish the year celebrating our successes? And where we lead others, how can we help them be motivated and productive as the rest of the year advances?
Let’s give ourselves firstly some time to think about what has been. Remember January 1 this year? All those plans, resolutions and goals? All those good intentions and positive vibes?
Take yourself back there and review – what have you achieved that you set out to? Celebrate that! If you have achieved things that weren’t even on that January list – celebrate that too! Take a moment to consider what you are proud of this year. This is important. People are motivated by many things. One of them is progress – moving forward, achieving, taking a step. The sense of making progress is important to people’s energy levels and ongoing productivity. So without stopping and talking stock of what we have achieved, how will we maximize our sense of achievement?
Humans are funny – we tend to focus on the negative – what we haven’t done, what we are not good at, who doesn’t like us.! Let’s flip this on its head and look at what we HAVE achieved (and while we are at it – what we are good at and who does like us!)
So what are you proud of this year? What achievements have you made, no matter how big or small? Write them down. Now go have a coffee, or a walk, do something to celebrate. A dance in the office is fine. Acknowledge it with something you enjoy. Because too often we don’t do this. And what’s the point of achieving if we ignore it and just move on to the next thing? Life is full of thinking about ‘the NEXT thing’. Busy, busy, busy. Slow down, be proud, celebrate!
Now we’ve partied with our progress, let’s reflect on January 1 next year. Take yourself there. If you like to party, imagine the party. If you like to bring in the new year quietly, imagine the best possible place you could be. In both cases, who are you with? Family, friends, pets? Or maybe it’s a glass of wine and a good book. Imagine your perfect 31 Dec into Jan 1.
Now in this perfect zone, think about what you will look back on from the last months of the year. What do you want to be celebrating? What progress will you toast? What achievements will you be proud of? Imagine your quiet or noisy celebration – which ever you prefer. Do it with a smile on your face. Paint a vivid and visual memory of all you’ve achieved.
Now get out that piece of paper again. Answer these questions:
- What will you achieve before year end?
- What habit do you need to break to ensure you achieve success?
- What will give you energy, when commitment falters?
How did you go? Could you answer these questions? I’d suggest reviewing them weekly or daily. If you are determined to have that proud memory on Jan 1, you will commit.
What about your team?
Now, let’s think about your team. Are they slowing down toward the end of the year? Could
they do with an energy boost or a momentum push?
Perhaps you cold do the above exercises – looking back to celebrate and looking forward to achieve – with them.
Here are some other suggestions that I have for helping the team focus.
- Have a weekly celebration of achievements as a team – whether talking about them in a regular team meeting, or sending an email, making a video or sharing over coffee.
- Ensure that the team have time together to build team morale and energy. Weekly or fortnightly meetings are great for this.
- Maybe the team is a social one and like coffee or lunch together? You know your team the best – how can you ensure this informal bonding occurs?
- Find or have the team find a shared project that they can work on outside of their daily tasks. Something that is not too time consuming, yet is exciting for them. Not any random thing – something that relates to the work they do. Maybe your team is passionate about improving the physical workspace – let them plan and change it. Maybe they want to raise money for a good cause, solve an operational matter that’s been bugging them for a while, start a lunchtime walking group? Whatever it is, allow some freedom and creativity to refresh their minds.
- Bring in an interesting speaker for a lunchtime or breakfast discussion. It could be a patient, a local business person, a trainer, someone from another team. Keep it short and informal. Ask the team afterwards what they learnt and how they can apply that to their own work. T
- Have a half day meeting determining the priorities for the team to achieve before the end of the year. Plan out together what’s important, what needs to happen and key milestones. Give everyone responsibility for a part of the plan, and review it regularly (again, celebrate efforts and even small achievements).
- Hold a competition and have some fun with it. Who excelled at customer service this week? Who learnt a new skill, tackled a challenge or achieved a milestone? Give small prizes if you can, definitely acknowledgement.
There are a few ideas for you to help support your team’s energy for the lead up to the year end. What will you do?
Here’s to a positive and productive year end!