The year-end holidays are a good time to wind down and recharge your batteries. It’s always good to reflect on the year has gone by and make plans for the new year. On the personal front, people make resolutions for better health and fitness, better control on finances, exotic vacations and so on. I think it is important to make some resolutions on the professional front as well, specifically around attributes that we can control; discipline, commitment, interpersonal relationships and most importantly productivity. Here are a few professional resolutions I have made for being effective in 2018.
1. Focus on value
At the outset, the statement seems very holistic and glamorous. But the concept of value is one of the toughest to define and adhere to. To me, the most fundamental definition of value is being compliant with timelines and quality. That sets a strong baseline beyond which I look at other aspects such as innovation, proactive problem solving, collaboration, contribution to organization initiatives, soft skill & technical skills development. The best way to look at value is to define short-term, mid-term and long-term value and measure your efforts towards that plan.
2. Be objective
A lot of what we sign up for as work is subjective in nature and thereby difficult to quantify. If we cannot measure, we cannot define success. So, it is very important for first make our goals objective with metrics to define effort and outcomes. This makes performance discussions objective and leaves no room for ambiguity. The same applies to teams, customers, and stakeholders. If we are able to take guesswork and subjectivity out of the equation, the alignment with outcomes is a lot better.
3. Practice an analytics-driven approach
We are living in a data-driven world today. Our work is highly process oriented and there are excellent systems in place to capture data at a granular level. There is a treasure trove of insights lying untapped in this data. Applying analytics to this data can help identify underlying patterns and generate actionable insights that can help enhance business outcomes such as customer experience and operational effectiveness. It is important to look at analytics as an integral part of work rather than a periodic activity.
4. Use time with care
One of the topmost reasons employees quit is when they stop finding meaning in what they do. How employees spend their time defines how engaged they are at work. I plan to make a conscious effort this year on optimizing time spent in meetings, be it the ones I get invited to or the ones I initiate. Apart from meetings, I also plan to cut down on unnecessary breaks and idle chit-chat with co-workers. Lastly, I am going to have a strict “no social networking” policy at work.
This is the age of dwindling work-life balance, stressful commutes and “need it yesterday” timelines. To survive and be successful one needs to have a healthy mind and positive workplace attitude. The concept of mindfulness has gained a lot of momentum over the last decade and its good to see it making an impact in the workplace as well. I have been an active practitioner and evangelist for the last couple of years. Mindfulness helps people understand their minds better and thereby enhances emotional intelligence and reduces stress. I have seen a lot of positive impact in 2017 and will continue to practice and evangelize mindfulness at work.
Well, in the spirit of my resolutions, I am going to get back to work and smash those deadlines😊. Here is wishing you all a productive and mindful 2018!