New Year’s (office) resolutions

New Year’s (office) resolutions

The New Year is a time for change, for considering your current state and identifying improvement opportunities (start where you are, anyone?). We commit to these improvements by making New Year’s resolutions.

The following five resolutions are among those that are made year after year. The aim? Help you improve yourself. However, if you think about it, they can be adopted in organizations too.

Eat healthily

You are what you eat—it’s not an empty saying. Every single cell in your body is made using the food you eat, and that’s easy to forget.

Well, your organization is alive too, and it consumes a lot. Organizations use physical resources, like paper and electricity, but they also rely on less tangible inputs, like ideas and information. In the same way that you are healthier if you eat clean, your organization’s health can improve by consuming better quality resources.

Switching to green energy sources and recycled materials can improve your organization’s reputation and allow it to take advantage of stable energy costs. Filtering the information your organization absorbs prevents harmful or malicious content from penetrating your systems and causing harm.

Lose weight

Many people find their weight creeping up over the winter, when it’s harder to get outside for exercise and the holiday season brings tasty food into the house. It’s no surprise that the New Year often signals a stampede for the scales and a slew of commitments to shed the winter weight.

Many organizations also put on a few pounds over time, and I’m not talking about normal growth. As organizations get larger, the scope for waste, under-utilized resources, and siloed practices increases.

Methodologies like Lean and Agile are designed to help organizations strip away all that excess weight, leaving more room for value creation. ITIL® recommends value stream mapping, which can help you to identify bottlenecks and unnecessary rework.

This year, consider shedding the bureaucracy and simplifying your structures. Make the most of your existing resources so you get more bang for your buck.

De-stress

Stress can worm its way into both your personal and professional lives and cause serious problems, so it’s smart to regularly examine what’s stressing you out.

The New Year is a great chance to look back over the last twelve months with your team and ask what went wrong and what sources of stress still exist.

Like in an PRINCE2® project, the lessons learned over the last year can really help to reduce or eliminate stress at work if they are shared and remembered throughout the year. At a minimum, good communication can help your team feel less overwhelmed and manage stressful situations better.

Often, feedback sessions are the only way to identify entrenched problems, like toxic cultural elements or serious conflicts between colleagues. You can use the communication methods outlined in ITIL®: Direct, Plan and Improve to encourage staff to open up and tell you what’s stressing them out.

Learn a new skill

Many people resolve to learn something new at New Year. A goal, like learning a language or getting better at cooking, helps keep your mind engaged and can stimulate new perspectives in a number of areas.

As it turns out, investing in employees’ learning and development is great for organizations too. The current super-fast pace of innovation means that professional people need to continually learn just to stay current; organizations need to encourage upskilling if they want a capable, innovative workforce and to retain talent.

In fact, Deloitte reckons that ‘organizations that define themselves as great places to learn achieve 23 percent greater financial returns, out-innovate their peers, and endure business cycles far better than their contemporaries.’ (See this paper on Agile professional development for more.)

Make room for creativity

Spending 30 minutes a day doing something creative can have an enormous positive impact on your mental health. More than that, creativity is a skill that can help you to solve problems and manage uncertainty better.

It’s important to carve out some space for creativity in both your personal and professional lives. If you’ve resolved this New Year to dig out those acrylic paints or finish that novel you started ten years ago, consider doing something similar at work too.

Spend an hour a week brainstorming new ideas with your team. Make room for experiments and expect a few failures. When there is a dedicated time for creativity, you can end up with big-hitter ideas and innovations that take your business in a whole new direction and open the door to new opportunities.

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