Happy New Year

The Obligatory New Year Post . . .

Dave Kinnear 1-On Leadership

Regardless of how I try, I cannot avoid making those New Year “commitments” to myself; even if I don’t voice them out loud. I try to convince myself that I don’t really care about all this year end craziness and a New Year is no big deal. It seems like I’m not successful avoiding the whole thing after all.

As I think more about it, why would I try to avoid at least the concept of making changes for the New

Year? There’s no good reason that jumps out at me as the appropriate answer. Instead, I am being forced to recognize that this is a logical and natural time to review what circumstances I created for myself last year and to visualize what I will intentionally live into and who I will be for the coming year. This mindset gave me a whole new view of the “Stop, Start, Continue” exercise we frequently use in business and personal productivity initiatives.

I’ve also learned, over the years, that it is best for me NOT to make too many changes at once. Since the exercise has a built in “count of three” changes to make, I’ve decided to stick to that natural format. Thus as you would expect, I’m working on one each of the “Stop, Start, Continue” categories and want to make the most impact on my productivity.

I know that sometimes I hold myself back from being fully effective since I often rely on experience to inform my response to new situations. Clearly that means that I’m letting the future outcomes be determined by the past. I’m automatically limiting new possibilities for situations when I rely so heavily on past experience. So for the first change in 2011 I intend to stop applying only past experience and trying to adapt it to the new situation. It sounds so easy. Maybe so, but I struggle with this every day. I have been trained to build on fundamental principles to solve problems. History and experience

Three personal goals for the new year.

Three personal goals for the new year.

seems like fundamental information.  Yet in our business environment and in the economy we are in new territory and it’s likely that relying on our experience will be more limiting than ever before.

A bit more challenging for me is deciding what new habit to start. I’ve decided to tackle “lightening up’! By that I mean that I tend to be “working” just about all the time. I rarely take down time, read for pleasure or enjoyment, watch movies or simply relax for a couple of hours. I seem to always have a “need” to be doing something productive. Don’t misunderstand; I don’t think I’m unhappy with how I have organized my life. It’s just a recognition that there is a bit of an imbalance. I’m sure my life partner will be interested in this particular resolve. She is always commenting on the topic.

The last New Year’s resolution is fairly easy for me. I will continue to be a “life time learner.” I love seeking knowledge and working to make a practical application from what is generally an academic endeavor or “book learning.” I am still involved with mentoring and coaching university students and I love being on campus. I enjoy the classes I am able to attend. I read incessantly. So I will continue to do all that I can to expand my knowledge.

So here I am, making resolutions about the goals to be achieved in the New Year even though I mostly do not like that process. Here’s a summary:

  • Do not let the past determine the future
  • Lighten up and be open to down time
  • Continuous learning

The more I am able to live up to these “new” expectations of myself, the more I will be living in the present – which is all there is! I will be able to create new possibilities by not letting past experience limit my view of the situation. Success will mean I am being an effective mentor and coach to those who depend on me.

How about you and your organization? Are you clinging to old business models and letting the past determine your future? Are you moving yourself and your company forward or trying to mark time while you wait for the economy to “get back to normal?” (Hint, it isn’t going back to the old way – this is it and this is perfect. We only have to see the possibilities and pursue them.)