In these final week’s of 2011, I want to offer you a series of 5 posts that will help you prepare for 2012. In essence these are resolutions for your business.
The first thing you want to make sure you’re doing between 2011 and 2012 is ensuring continuity.
The New Year is a time when people resolve to change. Individuals resolve to better themselves by no longer smoking or starting to exercise four times a week. Either they’ll never do something again or they’ll start doing something forever more. Whatever it is, big change is in store for them in 2012. The failure rate for these resolutions though is near 98%.
For businesses, this kind of Big Change Resolution is also often in the air. It’s the “right time” for a huge change in direction. The sales force is going to employ some new strategy. The store is going to get a redesign. Whatever it is, it’s time for Big Change.
And Big Change can be great. If things have been stale and the changes are well researched, then by all means, Big Change away. The problem with Big Change is when it’s happening “just cause.” Because it’s the New Year. Because we should do something. Because we haven’t thought of anything else, etc.
Don’t get distracted by the Big and Shiny, though. Stay focused on the little things that are manageable, in line with your business plan and structure, and whose aggregate can have a Big Change impact.
All of that is to say: Ensure Continuity.
You don’t have to eschew change in order to ensure continuity. You just have to make sure that you’ve successfully evaluated what is working about your current direction, strategy, goals and structure, emphasize its value and continue to pursue it. You can give continuity a fervor that is just as good as the excitement of Big Change.
One of my clients was already planning some big changes by moving into a new office space and warehouse. Their lease was aimed for January 1st. It was an exciting date for change, but they’re a retail business, and that change was coming right on the final days of the Holiday Season. That is to say, they’re already busy and focused. Creating this enormous change (the new location) at this time of ubiquitous change (New Years), they were heading for a big and jarring impact – not necessarily bad, but more extreme than it needed to be.
For organic reasons, their lease date was extended a few weeks into the year, which changed the way the move was affecting their business and the perceived continuity of transitioning from 2011 to 2012. I know a lot of people in this organization feel better about the transition, and to be honest, the adjustment away from “huge change” on New Years Day is a good one.
Despite the excitement of the calendar’s change, resolve to create a feeling of continuity for you and your team as you move into the New Year. The future of your business will rely on innovation and progress as much as on solid foundations from past successes.
Start thinking about what you can do to create continuity and preserve a feeling of consistency for your business and personnel.
Look forward to four more Business Resolutions for 2012. What are yours? Please share in the comments below.