I'm always striving to be a better version of me, as a CEO and a human being in the workplace. But it's hard to consider the long-term view when I'm in the thick of growing my company. Sure, we regularly set company strategy and goals -- but what about my personal goals for how I work?
By setting aside time to think about the ways I want to change, writing down these goals, and then checking in on how I'm doing -- throughout the year as well as at year's end -- I find I can create meaningful change in how I live my work life.
Here's how I do it and how you can, too.
Create some pondering time.
My company is closed every year between Christmas and New Years. No, not everyone on the team celebrates Christmas, but it's a time when work in many industries slows down, and I believe that it's good to give the entire company some holiday time together. This means that when we all come back on January 2, our inboxes aren't swamped by emails from colleagues (the usual price of a long holiday). And it means we all get some pondering time, away from work, to regain perspective and build up our energy.
I use this holiday break to ponder how the business is going, without being caught up in the action, and decide on my resolutions for the next year. I know that for startups it's all about the hustle, but this is one of those moments when slowing down really doesn help you speed up in the long run. Pondering time is important.
Keep it personal.
These resolutions don't have to be big strategic things. In fact, they shouldn't be. I'll probably get ideas for big strategic things during this time off, but I'll bring those back to the company and chew them over with colleagues.
Instead, my resolutions are personal goals, ways that I want to change my behavior. They might be about meeting my own code of behavior better; as an example, I believe in getting to know all my employees as individuals, so doing more of this helps me meet that ideal. Or they might be in response to the ways that the world around me has changed, such as a goal of tweeting more. Or tweeting less.
These may sound like small things, but as CEO, my behavior sets the tone for the company. This is part of what it means to be a leader: I set the standard. So I better do a good job of it.
Think about the way you behave in the workplace as a company leader. What do you feel like you do well? Can you do more of it? What are some bad behaviors that you know you should quit? This is a great moment to decide to change.
Hold yourself accountable.
I store the list of resolutions in the same place I store my weekly goals list, and I make sure I look at it at least once a month.
Even if things change over the year, I leave the goals I wrote in January as they are. At the end of the year, I want to be able to see how I did. I want the perspective that setting goals for an entire year, and checking my progress against them, can provide.
A year is a good amount of time. It's long enough to make big changes in a business or a life. But it's short enough that I can still remember why I set these goals, what I hoped to achieve with them. I've found that this process is helpful to me in making long term progress on the things that matter and that I can't achieve in an hour or a week.
Whether or not you're lucky enough to get pondering time at the end of the year, I encourage you to try making New Year's resolutions for work. A year from now, you may be surprised by how much they've helped you grow.