We all make New Year resolutions in our personal life, do leaders need to make resolutions for their professional life? Being a leader should not necessarily entail resolutions, but rather establishing goals. Resolutions are typically lists loaded with specifics that quickly fall off the radar. This year, consider creating plans filled with concepts that will spur you and your business teams into action and help ring in new business all next year.
- Be present. Help your team to become active listeners. Learn to listen closely to clients, staff and colleagues in person and digitally. Take advantage of the digital forums and “listen” or read closely about what your competitors, stakeholders and prospects care about the most. What problems do they have and how can you provide solutions? Avoid the temptation to solely rely on tech tools, and remember to engage and focus on real conversations. Be sure to make eye contact, contribute to discussions and develop meaningful personal connections. Strong personal relationships bridge growth of more connections via social media. Human connections continue to open doors to long-standing business relationships and new opportunities.
- Embrace technology. Technology offers a plethora of remarkable tools that help make us all more productive and organized. But sometimes technology leaves us a bit overwhelmed. To reduce inbox overload, conduct a productivity audit and examine the list of apps, programs and other tactics that help with organization. Too many options can cause obstacles and deflect productivity. If you find yourself or team overwhelmed with too many gadgets or programs bogging you down, consider identifying the top objectives and streamline the systems to better suit current needs.
- Develop industry leaders. Businesses need to identify key leaders to become better known as experts in their field. Set goals and build professional recognition while increasing your network. Encourage your team to get involved in industry organizations where they will gain referrals and colleagues while honing new or specialized skills. Be prepared to share experience and insights to target audiences by engaging in blogging, media interviews, bylined and ghostwritten articles, as well as participating in webinars and live events from the podium. But remember to impart cutting-edge ideas, knowledge and expertise without delivering a sales pitch.
- Identify your core message. Today’s digital world allows us to share information across a variety of channels, including websites and social media platforms with tremendous speed and power of reach. But what is your message? Be sure your message reflects your business philosophy or mission.
Communication audits are a good way to analyze messaging and method of delivery both online and offline. Do your visual and written messages capture your brand vision? Do you have a strong visual library of organic photos and engaging graphics that can be put to use across multiple communication channels. Do you use video to tell your story?
If you lack a comprehensive creative strategy, you may be leaving opportunities on the table and increasing costs to meet your goals as you reinvent the wheel throughout the year. Taking the time to review and understand what you have and what you need leads to a strong roadmap of marketing strengths. It also offers more bang for your marketing buck as you increase your positive image and expand your business.
Being present, embracing technology and striving to become an industry leader with a solid brand and message applies to businesses of all sizes and types. Each of these ideas can be customized to best suit your business, team and leaders, providing you with a platform for actionable and attainable New Year’s resolutions.