Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is December a Month to Reflect or to Panic?

At this time of year, with the end of the year approaching, most organisations will soon find themselves operating at the extremes; the retail sector, for example, can find this the busiest time of the year (hopefully); and other business sectors can come to a virtual standstill.

Organisations in the SME sector, especially, often finds themselves in a reactive ‘panic’ trying to finish outstanding ‘tasks’ before the December holidays; with little time to reflect on the year they’ve just had. Where reflection would include, which objectives they succeeded in reaching, those they didn’t, changes they didn’t foresee coming and how they reacted, opportunities lost, and threats combated. December should be a time to reflect and review the year gone by; highlighting lessons that have been learnt at all levels in the business.

December is important for another reason, especially for organisations whose staff are going to have some extended holiday – and that is to remind the organisation of the motivational challenges for the year to come, before they go on leave. The reason for this is that January will come around soon enough; and you want all your employees to be refreshed when they return, focused and excited about the year ahead.

It’s in this hectic period before many organisation go on holiday that these two important business principles are often forgotten. This means that the leadership misses the ideal opportunity for strategic reflection and employee motivation, claiming to be ‘just too busy’ and ‘putting things off’ until next year. Yet this period is a perfect time to re-motivate, re-focus and re-energise the organisation for the year ahead; giving them something to look forward to. Hence the organisational leadership should find the time for reflection and review before the opportunity passes them by.

This is especially true considering the global economic climate and the past year most organisations have had to deal with – if you are a SME and have survived the year, however bad it might have been, you should be proud of what you’ve achieved. So in between the end of year parties and the rush to get last minute tasks completed, ensure that you use this opportunity and find the time to be open and transparent with your organisation about two key business principles;

1) How has the past year gone, and what has been achieved?
2) What are the motivational challenges for the year ahead?

Why? Because you want your employees to end the year, proud of what they have achieved and to start the next year motivated to tackle the new challenges ahead.

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