The older I get, the faster time flies. A month seems to go by like a day. It's hard to fathom that half the year is gone and I am already busy helping clients assess their Q1 and Q2 accomplishments. Some of my clients are ahead of schedule; others are a little behind. Of course, I know of many companies that believe they are neither, simply because they don't plan for the year in the first place. (I would argue these companies are very much behind.)
What's past is past, and the coming July holiday is a good time to take stock of your situation so you can set an action plan to make the rest of the year as productive as possible. Regardless of your position or status, there are actions you can take to drive forward your company, division or even your own career. Here are seven actions to take immediately.
1. Solve at Least One Communication Issue
Nothing gets in the way of accomplishment more than poor communication. No one has perfect communication. Figure out where yours is falling short. It might be ineffective meetings, how you deal with conflict or how you manage criticism. Ask around and self assess. Chances are you'll find several breakdown issues from which to choose. Pick the one that is the biggest obstacle to your end-of-year goals.
2. Eliminate at Least One Useless Practice or Policy
Nearly everyone has daily activities that are inefficient or even unnecessary. These practices often go unnoticed due to habit. Sit with a colleague and list out the actions in your day or in a company process. Brainstorm together how to eliminate or refine the process for efficiency. The more bureaucracy you remove, the more you'll wonder why you were foolishly doing things that way in the first place.
3. Remove at Least One Useless Item From Your Budget
This is a great time to trim the fat. Take a day and go through your entire budget line item by line item. You're bound to find some left-handed smoke shifting or bacon stretching service you really don't need. At the very least, figure out how to finally empty out that storage facility that no one has touched for five years. Then you can reapportion the funds toward something that is truly useful and appreciated.
4. Commit to at Least One New Experiment
Once you complete tips #2 and #3 you'll have some extra resources. You might use these to take some new risk that could propel things forward in a big way. Experimentation is necessary for exponential advancement. It might turn out to be a wasted effort but even failure can be valuable for learning. At the very least, you'll learn what doesn't work.
5. Make at Least One New Major Connection
It doesn't matter whether you are focused on sales, operations or development. Adding smart people to your circle can help you grow faster. Bring on the employee you have been coveting or go engage the mentor or advisor you have always wanted. Build the team that will take you beyond your expectations.
6. Add at Least One New Competency
There is always some skill you crave to help you advance. If you don't start getting good at it now, you may never get there. According to Malcolm Gladwell you'll need 10,000 hours to master it; if you are pushing 50 like me that doesn't leave much time. (Actually, a company can achieve the requisite hours before the end of the year by assigning 10 people full time for the next 6 months.)
7. Inspire at Least One Colleague
You can accomplish far more with support from others. Find people who are floundering and help get them on track. By unlocking the key to inspiring them you'll inspire yourself more in the process. You'll feel good about moving them from a place of mediocrity and together you can take pride in accomplishment.
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