It’s January: time to refresh!

January 13, 2017

Hopefully the first two weeks of 2017 have found you and your team refreshed to take on the new year with energy and gusto. The start of the year is the perfect time to step back from the day to day and take stock of your organization, your peers, your past successes, and your goals for the year ahead. We aren’t talking about making new year’s resolutions – lofty goals that can make us feel guilty when we don’t achieve them – but instead some simple, practical steps you can take to ensure your organization starts 2017 off right.

  1. Clean house. First impressions count and your physical space is a reflection of your organization, especially spaces that are open to the public like your reception area, common meeting rooms, and any staff desks in plain sight. If those spaces are full of dirty walls, dead plants, or clutter to the ceiling, you know where to start. This is low cost and shows the world how much pride you take in your built environment. If possible, set an organization-wide meeting request asking everyone to clean their workspaces on a particular date from 2-5pm. Do not make this a bigger task than it is; if your offices need new carpets and every wall painted that will cost too much. Schedule what can be done using a bit of ‘sweat equity’ as opposed to impacting the organizational budget. Get it done and you will start the next business day with a fresh point of view.
  2. Schedule a coffee date with your senior leader. Whether that is your immediate supervisor, line manager, Executive Director, or your Board Chair if you are the ED – if you haven’t had a chance to speak about this year’s priorities and your vision, get something on both your calendars. The new year is a great time to figure out how you and your team fit into your organization’s big picture. To prepare, think about the top four priorities for your organization and yourself in 2017, and how you can work towards both of them. If you don’t know the top four for your organization, then find out; check the minutes from the last staff meeting, or if available, the minutes from the last Board meeting.
  3. Recognize staff and create incentives. Now that everyone has caught their breath after the busy end of year and holiday season, it’s time to recognize staff that should be acknowledged for going above and beyond in 2016. Think of how you can honor them in thoughtful and creative ways. How about a certificate with the management team’s signatures gifting them one paid compensation day, or a $25 gift card to their favorite store? If there is no budget, even a public acknowledgement of their work in a staff meeting is a great way to recognize hard work. You don’t have to be in a management position to put this idea into action either – you could kick it off by simply taking time to thank those around you for their hard work the previous year, highlight one of their achievements, and let them know you are looking forward to what you can achieve together in the year to come. These might seem like small gestures but you’ll be surprised by what they mean to people. Thank yous and incentives can go a long way, and can become part of organizational culture. As a team member you are saying ‘I see and appreciate the extra commitment.’ This may inspire others to go that extra mile.

These three ideas are by no means exhaustive, but they are a place to start. Hopefully they can begin to breathe fresh inspiration into your work and the way you approach the rest of 2017. Take advantage of January to set a new tone, renew commitments, and re-energize your colleagues to guarantee a year of purpose and productivity!

By Consultant Andrea J. Rogers

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