The “Non-Resolution” Resolution


Happy New Year!

I don’t make New Year resolutions, primarily because I don’t like to disappoint myself. I won’t commit to lofty affirmations or Herculean “to do’s” because I don’t enjoy beating myself up when I miss the mark. I’d rather commit myself to remaining focused on my life’s journey – and accepting the normal ebb and flow of living my life.

I was reminded (yet again) about my aversion to New Year resolutions while reading Katya Andresen’s article this morning. I applaud Andresen for sharing her thoughts on “powerful ways to do a better job in 2013”. Even though I cringe at their resolution-esque style, I see how these admonitions are aligned with common sense facets of fundamentally effective leadership.

First, Andresen advises her readers to “Know what you’re doing before you worry about how you’ll do it.” In layman’s terms, we call that “vision” – and effective leaders are adept in their ability to cast a vision for their organizations. In my book The 9 Signs of Effective Leadership, I wrote:

Effective leaders are visionaries because they create and communicate an inspired sense of purpose. These leaders lead with a vision of the future, and not just the reality of today…vision is simply the identification, understanding, and declaration of a desired future state.

  • Bottom line: Determine your destination first, then figure out how to map your course of travel.

Next, Andresen writes that we should “Spend at least 15 minutes a day in deliberate thought about something bigger than your to-do list.” Effective leaders put things in perspective, especially when aligning their overall purpose to their leadership responsibilities. This call for reflection reminds me of the tenets of servant leadership – especially when one considers that servant leaders are completely self-aware and understand their strengths and limitations.

  • Bottom Line: Take time to reflect and know who you are, and remember the “big picture”.

Finally, Andresen notes that we should “Think about what unites your colleagues rather than what’s in it for you.” This concept is highly relevant as well – especially when you consider that a leader’s job is to determine how to get THEIR goals accomplished through OTHER people. I wrote an article last year imploring leaders to:

…speak to his or her follower’s WIIFM: “what’s in it for me?” An effective leader should evaluate his or her enterprise to create an environment where the organizations goals and objectives are met, and where employees thrive.

  • Bottom Line: Consider what drives your followers to commit to their work – and help them to see how their personal goals connect with yours…and your organization’s.

My aversion to resolutions aside, it doesn’t hurt to take a moment at the beginning of the year to identify what you hope to accomplish this year. Perhaps we can call it a “non-resolution” resolution…


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