2014: Seize the Opportunities

December 29, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

Whining about how hard times are simply creates a hard-to-change mindset. This kind of thinking keeps us in the past. 

During tough times do remarkable things. Don’t spend even a nanosecond thinking about excuses. Focus on specific, written action steps toward reaching your goals. You will have opportunities to do remarkable things this year. Don’t obsess about times being tough. Choose to become the primary creative force in your life. 

Make 2014 your best year ever:

• Stay informed, but stop reading and watching doom-and-gloom news stories.

• Refuse to participate in unproductive, speculative conversations.

• Don’t just stay positive, stay focused on your desired outcomes.

• The real economy is people buying goods and services and using those purchases to create actual value and wealth. Participate in that economy.

• Prudently manage resources, but refuse to cancel purchases or investments due to fear and worry.

• As clichéd as it sounds, choose to make this a Happy New Year by doing what you love, and loving what you do. If this is not the case for you, what are you doing about it? Invest some of your time pursuing the life you want to create.

Important Questions for Management

Ask yourself these questions as you embark on a new business year: 

• Do the goals of various departments or regions in my organization support each other?

• Are people competing for resources, or is the organization designed to support creation of the actions needed to produce desired results? 

Link Actions to Goals

Local goals often have little to do with the customer who pays the bills. Without customers, we have no reason to exist. We can borrow money, but we need customers! 

In a well-designed organization, each action is linked to goals that are linked to other goals that are linked to still other objectives. This is a designed process, not an organic one. 

Left on its own, the structure of a business migrates to non-productive actions. What do people focus on day to day? Do those actions clearly advance the enterprise to achieving its goals on behalf of its overall purpose? 

Replace Resolutions With Actions

Bring penetrating clarity into your area of responsibility. Conduct 30-minute one-on-ones with direct reports to create dialogue around what truly matters to the enterprise and to people. 

Weed out competing goals. Shift from over-simplistic “positive thinking” to penetrating clarity and focus. Replace platitudes and pep talks with conversations around objective reality. 

Refocus people on what personally and collectively matters to them. Ensure you are not simply reacting to circumstances but, together, are building the organization you want. 

Accept what you cannot change. Focus on actions that produce results. Shift from talking about “given the present circumstances, what is the best we can hope to accomplish” to “here’s what we are building together.” 

Commit to Outcomes

Commit to outcomes, rather than change for the sake of change. 

If you could create your desired future and change nothing, would you be okay with that? We hope so. Most of us would gladly make changes on behalf of a bigger outcome, but we tend to resist change that seems to have no relevance other than “we’re making some changes around here.” 

Regret is a luxury the human heart cannot afford. Don’t look back except to learn from the past. Remind yourself that an autopsy, while educational, cannot revive the patient. Keep your eye on the future while accepting current reality without adding interpretations or “spin.” 

Tell yourself that this is your day—24 shining new hours that nobody can spoil but you. Live it!

Dave Mather is a 40-year veteran business coach. He specializes in helping senior managers/owners turn desired outcomes into viable business realities. His columns can be read at www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/dave-mather/