As we close out 2015, we are constantly striving for ways to improve our business and ourselves. Enter our New Year’s resolutions. We all make them and sometimes we even break them. This isn’t about whether you want to lose weight or travel more. No one will die if you break those personal types of resolutions. However, your business resolutions are a whole 'nother ball game. Breaking those could mean the demise of your business.
Here are my resolutions for 2016 worded so that perhaps they'll work for you, too:
1. Delegate more and then delegate again.
A number of times, I’ve found myself doing tasks that I can easily delegate to some of my staff. I tell myself that it will be quicker to do it myself than to explain to someone else how I want it done. And, I know you’re nodding your head right now. We’re all guilty of this.
But for 2016, I’m making a resolution to delegate more and rid myself of things others can easily do. My job is to make the business get better, bigger and faster, so that’s what I’ll be focusing on.
2. Empower your team to act.
If I had my druthers, I would have everyone around me feel empowered to act, not just often, but all the time! I want people to act like themselves, but bigger. This is the foundation of what everyone at the office calls “The Katelyn Rule.” The rule is, “'If I have to answer something or do something that you should be able to answer or do yourself, then why do I need you?'”
Right now you’re asking, “What the heck is the “Katelyn Rule”? And, who the heck is Katelyn? A bit of a back story on that: Katelyn was an employee who really impressed me after I gave a speech to an advertising group, so I hired her. Once, she walked into my office 15 minutes before we had to leave for a meeting asking if she should bring color copies with her.
I told her, "Imagine that you only get to ask me 21 questions a month . . . do you really want to use up one of your questions right now?” She held her breath and said, “Probably not.”
I named this rule in her honor, not because she failed at this task. After that moment, Katelyn, and all the others in the office, knew that they needed to be empowered to create and own what they did in support of the team, customers and clients. So, 2016 will be the Year of Empowerment for everyone at the office.
3. Curb your distractions . . . by killing squirrels.
We live in an era where everything is a distraction: our phones, emails, conference calls, other people, birds flying -- you name it, we’re distracted. And then there's the distraction of "Squirrel!" One of my favorite movies is Pixar’s Up, especially the character Dug the talking dog who gets distracted by that word, even during the most dire of situations. That’s where the expression comes from. If you’re a business leader looking to think big and act bigger, you must be a “big dog,” but you can’t be Dug.
Looking back, if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, I’d say, “Kill the squirrels and focus.” The same applies now. I’m still guilty of getting distracted sometimes, so in 2016 I resolve to separate the fake squirrels from the real ones and decide which ones are worth chasing.
4. Define for yourself 'my conditions of satisfaction.'
This one is not necessarily a resolution, but more like a continuation of a resolution I made a long time ago. In business, everything I do has to meet my conditions of satisfaction, which are: Have the ability to make money, to grow professionally, and have fun doing it. I might consider an opportunity that meets two of the three under the right circumstances, but never just one -- no matter how good the money is.
If you’re not going to follow your own conditions of satisfaction -- whatever they may be -- things won't end up well and your efforts will end up costing you money. So, stick to your guns. That's a resolution every entrepreneur should make and stick to.
5. Win fast.
In business, you must win as often as possible. In an era where everyone gets a trophy, you must learn how to win and win often and fast in order to stand out. People often talk about failing fast, and they have a point. When you fail, everything happens in a hot New York second -- or so it seems.
Personally, I think failing is for losers. While there’s a lesson to be learned from failures, don’t get into that habit. Instead, get into the habit of winning as often as possible. Winning is a hell of a lot more fun, after all. For 2016, I resolve not to settle and win often and big! My attitude springs from "doing things because I can," so why not be the biggest, faster, baddest version of what I can do? You should, too.
6. Help your team succeed more.
It’s simple. If my team succeeds, I succeed. If I succeed, they succeed. This is a wonderful balance we must preserve if we’re to keep our business afloat. In 2016, my resolution is to spend more time with the team, helping them see, and achieve, their goals. The purpose is to align their goals with mine and to match both of our expectations. Being on the same page can only benefit your business.
Anyone who knows me knows I like to work. No, really, I do. I get up early, stay late and am constantly on the move. Yet, despite my immense love for my work, I look forward to the day where my only “work” is working at my ranch in South Dakota. That is why I want to help my team members succeed, so that one day, they take over the reins and I can just sit back and enjoy life a little. That will put me closer to my goal of being richer than I am today and living the life I have always dreamed of.
Now that you’ve set your resolutions for the New Year, you must maintain them. Otherwise, all the time and effort you’ve spent on making your business better will be for naught. And 2016 will be a pretty down year.