By Denise Harrison, Senior Consultant

Strategic Planning Expert Denise Harrison

Strategic Planning Expert
Denise Harrison

Many folks take time to make resolutions at New Year’s to better themselves: lose weight, exercise more – you know the usual suspects.  But do you make resolutions for what you will do as a business leader?  If not, you may want to take some time to reflect on last year’s successes and disappointments and look at trends that are changing the workplace.  Then think through what you would like to resolve to do this year.  What do you need to change?  What do you need to do more of?  What do you need to stop doing?

Food for Thought:

40% of the workforce is made up of Millennials (people born 1980 to 1999).  How is this impacting your business?  Do you or your management team have what is needed to motivate this group?  (Hint: asking why they don’t behave more like you is not the answer here.) As a leader, you are tasked to get the most out of your team.  Some thoughts:

  • Millennials will need more coaching (we call this hand holding) than previous generations; have you revised your on-boarding process? Set up one-on-one mentoring?
  • Millennials will need more frequent feedback (once a year evaluation does not usually fit this group’s expectations) – how are you ensuring that feedback is more frequent consistently
  • Millennials want to be involved; ensure that you are not only explaining “how” to do the job by “why” we do it this way and “why” doing it is important (ideally for our customers)
  • Millennials may have different communication preferences; texting feedback for a job well done will take little time, but will fulfill the need for frequent feedback in a manner that usually works for this cohort
  • Millennials enjoy variety; think through how your leadership team is changing things so that millennials stay engaged

Invest in the high potentials. Often our time is spent managing the bottom tier of performers, looking for ways to improve performance and setting up performance improvement plans. While you do need to handle this group, time spent here is often to the detriment of spending time with the top performers to see how you can help them.  Are there obstacles that you can get out of their way?  Do they need other technology tools?  Resolve to spend more time working with the top performers to ensure that the company is supporting their performance.

Take time to work “on” the business not “in” the business:  One CEO makes sure that each member of his leadership team takes 10 days for professional development offsite.  He believes outside stimulation allows the team to come up with more creative solutions.  This occurs by attending workshops and seminars or joining an executive group like Chief Executive Network (CEN).  Often other companies have solved the same problems that you face and can move you up the learning curve faster by sharing their experience.

Harness the technology within your company: Are you utilizing the technology tools that you have in house?  Most CEOs agree they are using only about 40% of what is available.  Resolve to learn more about the capabilities and decide which of these would enhance your company’s productivity, and then learn how to use it/them.

Focus on the few:  A lack of focus is still one of the most prevalent issues among senior management teams.  For example, one CEO cut the number of strategic projects in half and led the company to higher growth and profitability.  Really, you can do more if you are focusing on less.  Have you really selected the key strategic initiatives for this coming year?  Have you communicated them throughout the company?  Does the company understand the “why” behind each objective?  Resolve to keep these initiatives out in front so that when you end the year, you are in a significantly better position.

These are just a few resolutions that I have seen work successfully in the past. What are the business resolutions that you are going to achieve this year?  Please share your thoughts on our blog.  For more on strategy development please call Denise Harrison at: 910-763-5194 or

To learn how to re-invigorate you strategic planning please listen to our webinar:  Why Isn’t My Strategic Plan Working.

Denise Harrison is a senior consultant for the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc.  She can be reached at

© Copyright 2016 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution.

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