Three Must-have Conversations for the New Year
Everyone should consider having the following three conversations over the course of the next few weeks. Taking this time with your direct reports, yourself and your spouse will only improve the beginning of your new year.
Speak With Your Squad
As for your direct reports, many individuals– especially millennials – need these types of exchanges in order to grow. This conversation with each team member should help set clear expectations for the next 12 months. Consider discussing the following with each of your employees:
- What went well?
- What were the pitfalls of your 2016?
- What would have made 2016 more successful?
- What are the new goals for 2017?
- How can I help you be successful moving forward?
This isn’t a casual exchange, but a crucial one, for both you and your employees; so, bring notes, take notes and mentally prepare yourself to receive constructive feedback. In the words of Greek philosopher Epictetus, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” Each person involved in this conversation should make this dialogue matter.
As a manager, your role is not to predict the future, but to enable it so both you and your team can look forward to a successful trip around the sun.
Talk to the Person in the Mirror
Your second conversation is with someone you know better than anyone else: yourself. Be sure to set aside some time for introspection, grab a coffee and your laptop and hold this self-interview with these eight questions.
- What went well at work?
- What went well at home?
- What are my personal and professional 2017 goals?
- How is my health, and is there room to improve?
- How can I impact my local community positively?
- Do I call my mom enough?
According to Albert Ellis, an American psychologist, the best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your challenges are your own. You do not place blame; but realize that you alone control your destiny.
Consult Your Other Half
Our personal relationships have an effect on our work and it’s up to you whether or not your relationship is a positive or negative influence on your career. Once the kids are asleep, consider calling up these seven questions on your mobile device to help drive meaningful dialogue.
- What are our 2017 emotional goals?
- What are our 2017 financial goals?
- What are our 2017 career goals?
- What can I do to help support your career?
- Here is what I need from you in terms of support for my career.
- What changes should we make together in order to achieve our goals?
- Are you happy? Am I happy? If not, what changes do we need to make?
The important takeaway is that you have an open, honest discussion with each other about your livelihoods. Are you pursing lofty aspirations and hobbies while your spouse pays all the bills, disciplines the kids and preps dinner every night? Is this a successful long-term plan?
To paraphrase Aristotle, we simply are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. By taking the time to plan and reflect on these year-end conversations, you quickly will gain an education from 2016’s experiences and can use what you learn to change your habits in the coming year for the better.