Happy New Year 1998


Did you have a nice vacation?  Were your holidays happy?  What did you do?  Do you feel rested and refreshed?  Are you wearing one of the gifts you received?  You look so nice.

Okay, now that we’ve got all of the bullshit out of the way, welcome back, Jack.  Let’s go to work!

The first few weeks of the beginning of a year are extremely important in the continued success of your company…whether it’s radio or records.  We all come back from a holiday break refreshed and anxious to make a mark.  New Year’s resolutions have been made and each of us promised to change some part of our lives for the better.  We’re all new people with new goals and a new resolve to make things different.

For about a month.

It’s up to each of us, as managers, to instill that “new” spirit and make positive changes in how we do our business.  There is no better time than the beginning of a new year to invigorate your staff and make positive changes.  But you’ve got to have more than a list of New Year’s resolutions.  Over the years, how many resolutions have you kept?

That answer alone will tell you that there’s more to making positive, continued change than mere promises to do so.

Careful planning is imperative in making any meaningful changes.  That’s why so many resolutions don’t make it to the Ides of March.  They’re made on a whim.  Most resolutions concern what we want to do or change, but we haven’t developed a plan that will make that “want to” a reality.

Here are a few tips to motivate your staff for the coming year:

First of all, you should have a major staff meeting during the month of January.  Explain to everyone your major goals for the year.  Outline how you intend to accomplish those goals.  Make sure you have at least one major promotion or idea that has no name or outline.  Ask for input from your entire staff on this event.  Maybe give some kind of a prize to the person who picks the most innovative title for it.  This way, even the entry-level people on your staff feel involved.  The meeting will make everyone believe that you feel each member is important to the company’s success.  And you know what?  It’s true.

Identify your primary department heads.  You need two or three close confidants who should be involved in making and implementing the major decisions you’ll face over the coming year.  Outline specifically what you expect from them.  Most  important:  Give them the power to implement those decisions.  Delegation is the key ingredient in the success of any major executive.  You have the final word on all major decisions, but you must give your key department heads the power to move on their own so you won’t be bogged down by minutia.  Delegating the responsibility frees you to concentrate on the big picture and invigorates your key department heads to move your company in the direction you’ve set.  Delegation doesn’t decrease your power…it increases your ability to be a better manager.  It also allows your key department heads to grow with you.  Make sure, however, that you specifically outline the ares of responsibility for each.  Tell them exactly what you expect.  Also, let them tell you what they will need to accomplish your wishes.  Continue this involvement with regular meetings throughout the year.

Schedule meetings with each member of your staff.  Let each know, in writing, the time of your meeting at least a week in advance.  Tell them that the meeting will be about their job duties for the coming year.  Ask them to prepare to discuss what they want to accomplish in the coming year.  Again, in this meeting, be specific with your expectations.  Tell each what you want and need for them in order to accomplish your goals.  Discuss salary expectations.  This lets each person know what’s in store for the coming year.  Don’t make empty promises.  Share reality.  Your staff will respect you for it in the long run.

Give each employee at least one additional duty…something the person wasn’t responsible for last year.  Outline how this job is to be performed and underline the importance of the job, no matter how menial.  Remember, no task is too small in the overall operation.  No matter the firepower, an army can’t win wars unless food is delivered and garbage is removed.  In this meeting, also discuss the goals of each staff member.  Find out what is important to them and what they want to accomplish.  Ask questions about your operation.  listen to their answers.  They might be smarter than you think.  They might have great ideas.  Have you seen the movie, Good Will Hunting?  The janitor solved a problem that was beyond the knowledge of the PhDs.  Listen and you might learn.  At the very least, by listening, you’ll convince your staff members that you care about their input.

Make sure to follow-up with a memo.  Commit to writing each point of the meeting so both you and the staff member can refer to it in the future.  By asking each staff member to outline goals, the employee can be held responsible for not achieving those goals.  Conversely,each employee will have a memo from you with your expectations outlined.

To make positive change, you must institute positive changes.  You can’t get rid of bad habits unless you replace them with good habits.  A turn-around won’t happen just because you will it.  Careful planning and preparation can make your New Year’s resolutions last…and make 1998 a banner year for you and your company.

Happy New Year.

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