For most businesses, this is the first full week of work after the holidays. It may feel particularly hard after two weeks of not commuting, enjoying time with family and friends, or just doing not a lot.

It’s also a time when many people will be making resolutions and setting both business and personal goals for 2020. It’s a good time to do this. You have had a break from work, the year has turned, so you can look back on 2019 more objectively. Here’s some tips to help you do a post holiday holistic overview!

Why viewing social media doesn’t help

Fed up with all those ‘perfect’ social media posts we all get around Christmas? You know the type: pictures of our friend’s beautifully decorated tree, superbly laden table, precisely wrapped presents, happy employees in Santa hats?

Come the New Year, it become more about them too: the shiny new car, the modern new offices or worse, the ‘smug shot’ of an already lithe friend at the gym on January 2nd working off the chocolates and egg nog!

Everything is relative

As human beings, our perception of things is always relative to some point or self-set standard. Social media images and posts can set a standard that we may not be able to reach, or alternatively can surpass. We inevitably start to compare our own situation with these images, and our position relative to them.

  • Upward comparisons are when you compare, say, your pile of presents under the tree with posts from your more affluent friends, and find your stack lacking.
  • Downward comparison is to compare a smaller pile of presents posted by another person, which makes you feel better about your (in comparison) larger pile.

Business comparisons

The same can apply to businesses. You may compare your business to one that is doing so much more trade, has more stores, more trucks, a bigger manufacturing base. Alternatively you may think your business is ‘better’ than the owner/manager workshop or store down the road.

The truth is, on social media, no business is going to show their weaknesses anymore than your gym-fit friend will post a picture of themselves in their pyjamas with a bucket of popcorn in front of a box set on Netflix. Success is relative; more office space mean more overheads and a larger payroll, after all.

The New Year offers you an opportunity to step back, switch off the business phone, and take stock of your own business situation without the need to compare. According to construal level theory (CLT), the further in time you are from an event, the more you can be objective about it. So an extended holiday gives you the opportunity to reflect on what you and your business achieved overall, rather than focussing on specific metrics or details.

Accentuate the positive

Not all experiences you will assess will be positive, needless to say. The key is not to dwell on these but convert them into positives. That’s where resolutions and goals come it, to help shape those experiences into actions and new targets to strive for.

Goal setting must be one of the most written-about methodologies in business, and it seems nobody quite agrees on exactly how to set them. However, there is one over-ridding factor common to all: detail. Detailed goals are achievable goals.

  • “Get more clients” is not a goal. It’s an intention.
  • “Research suitable potential customers in Ontario” is an action, not a goal.
  • “To ethically secure 5 new quality clients by June 2020” is a goal. It is measurable, defined and can be broken down into a series of defined actions.

Your action plan

These specific actions are simply the actions required to achieve your goal. Simply apply your favourite project planning technique, from sticky notes on a whiteboard time line to team project planning apps. Make sure you diarise each step. It’s important you have sufficient time to do the actions required, even if it means delaying or delegating jobs already planned, according to their level of importance.

It’s also important to see how far you and your business has come since last year, too. Celebrate the business successes, and as the manager or owner, always recognise the achievement and contributions of your employees in making that happen.

Peer to peer recognition

Encourage your employees to give position feedback and praise for their colleagues. Positive peer to peer recognition that is freely given is a very powerful source of motivation. A peer to peer recognition program can:

  • Increase employee engagement
  • Build a cohesive company culture
  • Create a culture of connection and belonging
  • Reduce staff turnover
  • Improve performance

As an article by O C Tanner says:

“Every employee should … have the opportunity to do great work and be recognised, regardless of job title, tenure, or function.”

Make productive networking a New Year goal

Networking is one of the most effective and time-efficient ways to put your business into prospective. Meeting with other business owners and managers gives you the opportunity to discuss business methods and experiences that in turn shed light on your own processes and goals. As a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, join fellow business people every month for our Business After Five events. These are designed to dovetail into the end of your working day, so you can unwind, talk, network, form new contacts – and still be home to tick off “bedtime story” or “curling practice” as part of your main goal of 2020, a better work/life balance!

Check out our next networking dates on our Woodstock Chamber events calendar for 2020.