Five New Year's Resolutions for Executives

by | December 22, 2009

Weall know that this time of year tends to be a time for taking stock of the 12months just gone by, and making resolutions for the year to come.Unfortunately, for many of us, new resolutions often tend to be made in theaftermath of a holiday binge, meaning they can be both short-sighted (of course you want to lose weight after allthe feasting—everybody does), anddifficult to keep up with in the long run. With that it mind, why not take thetime to sit down now and think about what you'd like to achieve over the comingyear—both in your personal and professional lives. Listed below are fivesuggestions to get even the most set-in-their-ways of execs thinking aboutmaking a change.

    1. Stop losing weight (no morelayoffs).

    Sure 2008 and 2009 were tough, and cost reductions were necessary for manyfirms seeking to ensure survival and remain competitive. Just like withdieting, however, there comes a point where you've shed all the fat you can,and further weight-loss can only damage the body. And, given the number oflayoffs in the last two years, it's difficult to imagine that there are stillcompanies out there carrying excess poundage at this point. If 2010 is going tobe the year where a recovery is attempted, companies will need all the staffthey have left, operating at the top of their games. In fact, with that inmind, why not…   

    2. Hire someone.

    That's right—create a job or two this year. If you doit right, you'll be doing several things at once: rebuilding your company;positioning yourself for growth; helping aid the recovery. And the earlier youstart, the better the talent will be on offer: lots of very talented peoplehave been victims of this economy, and 2010 is likely to be an employer'smarket. Why risk missing out on the cream of the crop? Or start with sometemporary help if you're not sure the economy's stable enough to justify afull-time hire yet.   

    3. Get on Twitter.

    Face it: social media isn'tgoing anywhere. And more and more companies are finding the value in leveragingfree technologies to promote their brands, maintain their images, anddisseminate content. If you've already dipped a toe in the water, make 2010 theyear where you finally come up with a coherent social media strategy for yourcompany. If you're still of the opinion that "I don't think people willfind what I had for lunch very interesting," then you clearly haven'tchecked out what people—including your competitors—are using these technologiesfor. At the very least, make a commitment to sign up for free accounts onTwitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to find out what all the fuss is about. 

    4. Dare to be different.

    2010 looks likely to be theyear that Google takes on Apple's dominance of the smartphone market in ameaningful way. But it's not doing so by following the model that made theiPhone successful. Rather, the company is seeking to break barriers, launchinga Google-branded phone intended to be available on any network of thecustomer's choosing—a move that has equalpotential to shake up the entire mobile telecom industry or prove a costlymistake. Meanwhile, the Comcast-NBC Universal tie-up is another example ofleaders pressing forth with a bold strategy in the hopes of a big pay-off inthe coming months and years. Maybe 2010 is the year you should take thatunconventional or risky idea off the back burner and really think aboutimplementing it. 

    5. Give something back to youremployees.

    Pay cuts or frozen salaries. Benefit cuts. Layoffs. Increasing workloads. Nofeeling of job security. That's been the scenario for many employees across thecountry for much of the last two years. While all of those things areunderstandable due to the economic climate, even the smallest gesture to letstaff know you appreciate their efforts will not go unnoticed—even if it's onlyan email thanking them for their performance. On a similar note: don't promisewhat you can't deliver. Most workers will understand if you explain that youcan't find the funds to give them a raise this year. But if you give theimpression that better times are right around the corner and the reality failsto materialize, don't be surprised if morale falls flat.

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