For many, the holiday season is a complicated time of year when we look forward to time with family and friends but also deadlines and year-end business commitments. For executives in the throes of an organization transformation, the holiday season can be stressful because milestones and deliverables don’t take a break with the festive season and transformation efforts can be tough to put on hold.
While I recognize that these factors can make the holidays challenging for some, one of the keys to organization transformation success is sustaining a high-level of energy and focus over a long period of time. To do that, there must be time when we step back and take a break both mentally and physically. The holiday season is a great time to take one of these breaks. I suggest that executives and alignment leaders take time this holiday season to shut down and reflect on what went well over the last year and what could be done differently next year. Specifically, and to this end, consider the following four activities, or “Rs,” that can help you make the most of your holidays and benefit from this unique time of the year.
- Reflect. In the speed and bustle of a constantly changing market, it can be difficult to find the time to sit, take a walk, or just reflect over the past year. As they say, hind-sight is 20-20, and it can be extremely useful to take the time to inventory your triumphs, missteps, and even defeats to learn from them in the future. So, go ahead clear some space on your calendar and create some uninterrupted time. If you do this well, you will not only be recharged but also you may increase your effectiveness in the new year with new ideas, fresh approaches, and deeper learnings.
- Renew. Sometimes you look back over the last year and it feels like you were fighting fires all year long. Not only is this exhausting, but it can also take a toll on your resolve, schedule, process integrity, and work/life balance. The holidays are a great time to recalibrate these things, shore them up, and renew your patterns. Learn from the fires you’ve fought over the last year and re-align yourself to better confront the fires in the next year. Renewal can happen by taking a mental break from the routine—read new books, spend time with friends and family, and set new goals for the next year.
- Rejuvenate. For many leaders and executives, and especially those in the middle of a transformation, you may feel like you are sprinting a marathon. By the end of the year, it is understandable to be exhausted. While a good rest may certainly be in order, for those that can’t afford to take some time off consider the adage, “A change is as good as a rest.” Consider taking time during the holidays to get some work squared away that you’ve been putting off and is significantly different from the work that you do on a day to day basis. Finally being able to cross some things off your to-do list will certainly lift your spirits, and you might find yourself surprised at how rejuvenated you feel by simply changing your work patterns and priorities for a few days.
- Refocus. All too often, we start with a sharp and focused design, strategy, or plan, and the events of an implementation or the realities of daily life alter our plans and often dilute our focus. This is natural and may even be hard to detect especially when we are so close to a project. However, use breaks in your routine to re-shape your focus. Doing so will enable you to put your energy into activities that will create the biggest market impact for your organization and help you best execute your organizational strategy. Take some time this holiday season to get some distance from your projects to be able to see them with a more critical eye. Look for scope creep or strategic misalignment and sharpen your focus for the oncoming year.
As you approach your holidays and juggle your year-end business responsibilities with family, religious, and other obligations, find time to recharge your personal batteries, clear your mind, and do some reflection. A little bit of repose, change, and thoughtfulness will go a long way in allowing you to approach the new year with enthusiasm and vigor. We know that organization transformations can be long, marathon-like events. In a very practical way, consider taking time to step back for a moment to reflect, renew, rejuvenate, and refocus yourself and your organization for the new year.
Happy Holidays from your change partners at AlignOrg Solutions, and we hope see and help you be successful over the course of the next year!