It’s that time of year – AGAIN!

Here we are again! The end of another year and most of us left scratching our head wondering where the time has gone. Sometimes I wonder “would it just be easier to leave the Christmas tree up given it comes around so quickly?”

Business is no different. It seems we have just cleaned up after last year’s Christmas party and here we are about to attend the next one. So if time really is going by so fast, when do we take the time to reflect on what we have done in the past and plan for what we want to achieve in the future?

According to all the posts on LinkedIn and Facebook, NOW is the time. In all the busyness of this time of year, now is the best time to look back on 2019 and see what we achieved in our business, did we focus on the areas that we said we would? Did we achieve the goals we set out? And what do we have install for 2020? What’s the plan?

My concern with this is that there is often so much focus on the ‘goals’ and the getting things ticked off the list, make the sales, hit the targets, move into new markets – all are valid, but what can get left behind is our culture and our people.

Culture and people are the true measure of success. Yes, the numbers are important, don’t get me wrong. But if our culture is toxic and our people are going home feeling demotivated, undervalued and stressed – then what is the purpose?

So, I ask all business owners and General Managers, have you made leadership development for you and your leaders a priority and a daily practice? Have you discussed the values of the business and checked in to make sure they are not being left behind? Have you ensured that you and your leaders have the skills to be highly effective leaders? Are your people going home feeling valued and fulfilled?

Some of you may say that it has been a dedicated area of focus, which is fantastic, some of you may say our leaders went on the odd leadership course and some of you may not have had the time or even thought about it as important.

You see leadership as a skill is no different to any other skill that we learn and develop over time. I asked a building surveyor the other day if after he did his surveying degree did he know everything there was to know about building surveying. He said NO. I asked if after a few years he knew everything there was to know. He said NO. I asked if he continued to learn from others and attend professional development days and courses. He said YES. I asked if after 20 years of being a building surveyor does he know it all now? He said NO.

Leadership is no different.

Promoting a person who is good at their job into a leadership position is great but it must come with training and coaching. And I don’t mean a one day course. Leadership is a skill we learn and develop over time and need to practice daily.

What we do know is that where we have highly emotional intelligent leader’s we have higher functioning, productive and happier teams. Investing in your leader’s skills to understand human beings, how to motivate, support and value staff, means that the targets you set will become easier to achieve.

Know your goals, set clear plans and targets you want your business to achieve in 2020, but make developing your leaders and culture the priority. You never know, you may just exceed your own expectations.