Inspire’s Auckland Regional Manager Aidan Stoate writes…
I love this time of year for many reasons; longer days, more sunshine, social invitations abound, excitement for holiday travel plans is palpable, and the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family at a time of celebration creates a feeling of genuine goodwill.
But….I’m still fascinated by – and largely resistant to – the notion that the Antipodean Christmas season starts in early November and continues until well into January.
After 8 years in New Zealand, I also now accept all of the good things come largely at the expense of a significant slowing down of business activity.
So, how as managers/leaders can we make the most of this quieter time in the office? During the year do you often wish you had more time in your working day to do a whole bunch of admin/internally focused tasks or to sit and plan for the future?
It’s all about having a positive mindset. Instead of bemoaning the fact that long-arranged meetings suddenly get cancelled or projects are put on hold until the new year, look at this extra time on your hands as an early Christmas gift.
Here are my five key tips to get the best out of your team over the ‘silly season’:
Tip 1: focus on team wellness
You have time on your hands so why not use it to get to reconnect with your team. You could take each team member out for coffee, or take a half-hour walk and chat while you walk, and just get to know them better. Doing something like this shows you care about your team as individuals, which is an important part of fostering a sense of belonging to a team and an organisation.
Another suggestion is to think of new formats and locations for team meetings in the New Year; walking meetings are one option (probably easiest with a small team) or outdoor meetings, just to change things up at bit. How about every team member taking a turn to run the meeting? This could be a good development opportunity for some of your quieter team members.
Tip 2: kick start those internal projects
Turning the lens inwards to work on internal projects is equally as important, if not more so, than commencing new external opportunities. This time of year presents a great chance for teams to finish up an internal projects that have possibly been kicking around for a while.
Tip 3: get planning
A long hiatus inevitably triggers a flurry of activity in the New Year, and often with tight deadlines. Planning now for delivery resources and allocation of work sets you up for success ahead of the change in activity.
Use this time to research market trends, read publications and network without the formality of a business meeting or presentation. Find out what will drive your business forward next year and create some high-level plans that will enable you to take full advantage.
Tip 4: share insights and market trends
Many clients may not want to meet, but they are still keen to hear the ideas, insights and market intelligence that will benefit their projects in the New Year.
Find ways to connect with clients to share valuable information and resources in a less time-consuming/disruptive way. Providing case studies, market data, success stories and emerging trends is a productive way of maintaining contact and positioning your business for opportunities when the time is right.
Tip 5: reflect
The end of the calendar year is an appropriate time for reflection; of both past and present circumstances as well as future possibilities. In a business context, use the time to reflect on what has worked well in the year and identify areas that can be improved to maximise impact. At IG we use a process called Stop, Start, Continue. We ask the following three questions:
- What did we do that didn’t work so well? So, let’s stop doing that.
- What could we do instead that may work better? Something new to start.
- What did we do that got us the result we wanted? Makes sense to continue doing that.
I hope 2018 has been good to you. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the festive season.
I hope you find these tips useful and now have time to get some of those long-ignored tasks off your to-do list.
Aidan heads up Leadership Learning in Auckland. He’s an experienced senior business manager with a demonstrable track record in operational, strategic and people leadership initiatives.
Mobile: +64 (0)27 204 8260 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org