By Claire Norman

This time of year gets a little hectic for Coaches, which may sound a little strange. But CEOs and other successful people tend to get an urge to review, re-think and renew themselves at the end of the year, hoping to become that ‘Perfect Person’ in January of the next year. Believe me, I not knocking the notion of New Year’s resolutions, as they are a fantastic vehicle giving people permission to start or stop doing the things that are more in line with their aspirations and values. I have listened and encouraged some phenomenal changes over the years that have started with a ‘New Year’s Resolution’. However, they are not for everyone.

Joe, a successful, energetic, and anxious Production Director came to see me at the end of a year, full of enthusiasm and excitement. “I really want to make some positive changes as this is the season for New Year’s resolution”, to which I could only agree equally enthusiastically. He then regaled a ‘plot’ that he had been thinking about, relating to what and how ‘he’ should change. The plot was to change the shift patterns from the beginning of the year, (ie next week) based on some feedback received during the last few months. When we delved a little deeper, he had worked out in considerable detail how it would be possible to change the shifts in order to give everyone a shorter Friday. He though that this was going to be an excellent idea, and an opportunity to demonstrate his flexibility. He also thought that he would introduce this as a surprise, almost as a Christmas present. Not wanting to squash his enthusiasm for his idea, I offered up two things as he left; firstly — who is doing the changing here? and secondly, are surprises always good for everyone?

Having thought about the second one at least, he decided to share the idea with the foremen and other team members before announcing the ‘surprise’. Two days later, I get a call from an extremely rejected Joe. “They hated the idea. They said that everyone would find it impossible to change child care, car sharing schemes and other routines that they had in place. However much I tried to persuade them, they said it would cause a riot.” Humm, poor Joe — so much good intention. So we went back to the original thought. He wanted to set a New Year’s resolution for himself, but was this really for himself? It sounded like that he was getting everyone else to change, when he reflected on his idea. His real intention was to ‘become more flexible’ as a person at work. Talking through this in more depth, he found plenty of other New Year’s resolutions that he could do personally to make this happen, and realised that he would be in control of their success, regardless of circumstances on the shifts.

So — some thoughts when thinking about changes that you may want to make in the New Year. Yes — this is a great time of year to reflect on your strengths and some irritating habits and what better time to change than on January 1st? However, any time to try improvements is good. The appalling high statistics of those that sign up for annual gym membership on January 1st and only attend for the first two months (if that) demonstrates the unrealistic pressures we put ourselves under, just because it is the beginning of a new year. So, be sure that you really do have something that you want to change now. If not, relax and think about it at Easter, or your Birthday, or any other memorable day when it feels right.

New Year’s resolutions are for you and best kept that way to ensure success. There are plenty of other successful tools to create change in your business that you can utilise all year around. Trying to create group change just because it is the end of the calendar year maybe not enough of an incentive for everyone to be as enthusiastic. In fact many people are on leave or not ‘at their best’ shall we say at this time of year, so think carefully before creating a change. It can be done well at this time, but needs careful planning, and buy-in before launching into what could be a revolution in the making!

Claire Norman is a Performance coach for Xfusion.

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