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EmpowerU in 2024: Tips for a Successful Start

Start Now! Here are top 5 tips to get you and your team off to a great start and EmpowerU in the new year!

December 2023

1. Power of Reflection: Reflect on 2023. The power of reflection is huge. You don’t have to take a long time to journal. You can start by journaling 3 times a week – just like starting an exercise plan. Most trainers suggest starting with 3 times/week to sustain and get your body adjusted. Studies have shown that journaling helps your mental health by reducing stress, uplifting emotions and thoughts in a safe manner and enhancing learning (Emotional Express and Psychological Symptoms: 2006). I journal every morning for 15 minutes. Keeping it consistent is key.

Here are a few questions to get started:

  • What have you accomplished this year?
  • What have you learned?
  • What opportunities are ahead based on your learnings?
  • What have you done for yourself to gain/sustain energy?
  • What have you done that may have depleted energy?
  • Visualize:  Think about Dec. 31, 2024, you have a smile on your face with all that you have accomplished.  What have you accomplished that is putting a smile on your face?

Take a moment to process your thoughts on these questions as you now look at Power of Three below.

2. Power of Three:  Identify SMART Goals.  Often times, we have the best of intentions of creating goals that we want to achieve and at the same time challenging enough so we don’t get bored. Somehow it falls through the cracks because life gets in the way.  

Society is built on “power of three”. Think about it: Do-Re-Me, I-2-3, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and so on.  Our brain remembers this pattern, so why not apply it to goal-setting?  Identify no more than 3 major goals or areas of focus.

The concept of SMART goals has existed since 1981 (There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives, Doran, Miller, Cunningham). It is a great framework to use to develop personal and professional goals that are meaningful: (Make sure to write them down!)

  • Specific. Phrased as a result, as clearly and precisely as necessary to avoid misinterpretation
  • Measurable. Define how you will know when the objective has been met. Measures are typically stated in terms of quality, quantity, cost or timeliness. Measures are preferably numeric. Good measures are those that can be verified and are observable.
  • Attainable. Account should be taken based on your capabilities What else will be going on in your life? Where will you need to put your energy and resources?
  • Relevant. Make sure the goal is meaningful to you. On a personal level, why is this goal important to you? On an organizational level: How does this contribute to the success of the organization and department?
  • Time-bound. A specific end-date for results should be set. For complex and/or long-running objectives, there should be intermediary checkpoints for review, adjustment and coaching opportunities.

Use the following sentence to help craft SMART goal statements.
I will (describe what you want to accomplish): ________________ by (tell when this will be complete): ________________ so that (explain the connection to why this is important) ___________ My success will be measured by _______________________

If you can fill in these blanks or answer the questions you can write a SMART goal!

3. Power of Sharing:  Say It Out Loud. What makes “it sticks” even more? Share your goals with someone- whether it is your partner, best friend, coach, mentor, therapist, work colleague, peer, or family member.  Research indicates that if you verbally share with someone, there is a 65% chance of achieving the goal. It can also help with exposure to pressure, fear of failure, misunderstandings and negative feedback. (American Talent Development 2023). Share during a Zoom call, over coffee, or drink!

Think about obstacles – In addition to sharing your plan:  What might get in the way?  How do you plan to overcome this?  This is a great opportunity to engage with the person you are sharing with to obtain their ideas on ways to overcome.

Monitor progress – Now that you have a plan, how will you monitor progress? Have a of check-in process on how you are doing against your goals- whether weekly or monthly.   I create a monthly plan.  Each week, I set goals on what I want to accomplish during the week. On Friday, I evaluate how far I have come.  Regularity is key and remember practice makes progress (i.e. Growth-Mindset)

4. Power of Inclusion:  Practice a Growth-Mindset. “Mind over matter” as the old saying goes. It’s your mental attitude or outlook.   Our blog on growth mindset highlights, there five specific actions you can take to develop a growth-mindset.  This will help keep you and your team engaged, optimistic, and making progress to get the results you want.  

Here is a situation where a leader fell into the trap of NOT having growth-mindset:

Joe is leading a staff meeting with five direct reports.  They are reviewing sales forecast vs. results for the year.  Joe says, “Team, we barely made our numbers.  Next year, we need to try harder and do more with less.  You have the framework on selling so use it.  Questions?”  No one raised their hand.  Within seconds, Joe said “Okay good.  Let’s move on.”  Joan, one of junior sales team members, was hesitant to raise her hand to share a new method that she learned about closing the deal during a company-sponsored conference. Joan thought, “What is the point? Joe probably won’t listen or even care.”  

Unfortunately, this type of situation is more common than we would like it to be. With a growth mindset, this situation could have had a different outcome:  Joan would share her insights on sales approach and ultimately the team maybe selling more, faster.

  • Provide positive feedback on progress: “Team, I know this was a tough year with the economy and losing some accounts. There are some things I know we cannot control and others things we can control. I recognize we gave it our all – I saw the late-night hours you put it and maintaining the accounts we could. Thank you.”
  • Create an inclusive environment for diverse thoughts: “Next year is a fresh start. Let’s think about how we might approach our sales differently. I want you to share your ideas- especially different ones. No idea is bad. Let’s brainstorm and reframe from any judgement for the next 15 minutes.”
  • Flex your communication style to engage everyone: Some team members may need time to process and think more vs. others (our introverts). Introverts are typically thinking inside vs. extroverts who think out loud. Know your team, lean in on the extroverts first while giving time to the introverts to process. Don’t put them on the spot by calling on them first.

5. Power of Time & Energy:  Manage your time and energy.   Everyone has the same amount of time every day, and we need energy to get results.

Prioritize on what you are working on: One way to do this is to identify all that you are doing and bucket this into Start/Stop/Continue. This will help you think through what is truly important and meaningful to you.

“Focus on the Big Rocks”. Big Rocks are the things that matter the most- time spent on key relationships and responsibilities. The “gravel” are the little things that fill up your day – like email, phone calls, less important priorities (Stephen Covey). Identify what is important for you, not just urgent. Think about weekly and daily planning.

Identify what are 1-2 important things that you want to focus on this week – make it manageable. I take 30 minutes to plan out the week ahead on Sunday.

Goal settings

Franklin Covey

I also plan 10 minutes in the morning each day on what I want to accomplish for the day.

Get Energy. Take time for yourself.  Often times, we think, “I am too busy to make time for myself.”  The focus on mental health is now more than ever post pandemic: 81% of respondents indicated that they will be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future (2022 APA Work & Well-Being survey, U.S. Surgeon General).   

Discover how you get energy:  Exercising, mediating, cooking, spending time with your loved ones on a daily-basis. Find what energizes.

That’s a Wrap. With all these powers in play… you will be Super Woman or Man in 2024!

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