Finish 2016 Strong: Refocus, Reconnect, Reenergize

October 4, 2016
Mike Stallard

Fall has arrived and with it begins the fourth quarter. Now is the time to establish your plan to finish the year strong. Here are a few practices to help.

Step 1: Refocus

Start with the Top 5 priorities you wanted your team to accomplish in 2016. Beneath each priority write down what has been accomplished year-to-date and what you still want your team to accomplish before year-end.

Here is an outstanding example from Chief of U.S. Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Vern Clark’s Top 5 priorities in 2003. Beneath each priority, the document details what the U.S. Navy accomplished. Consider using this format and color-coding the actions under each priority with green for already completed, yellow for on track and red for at risk.

Step 2: Reconnect

Get your team together to review the Top 5 priorities document created in Step 1. Present the document, explain your rationale, then ask your team to share what’s right, wrong, missing or confusing about your thinking. Don't challenge people. Just listen to and thank each person who contributes to the conversation.  Capture what they share in writing.

Take time to reflect on the feedback and circle back to individuals if you need further clarification. Decide on adjustments then pull your team together to present your finalized Top 5 priorities document.

Step 3: Reenergize

It helps people to have clarity about their specific responsibilities. Once you’ve finalized your Top 5 priorities document, work with your team to brainstorm W4s for each item under the priorities. W4’s stand for: 1) What needs to be done; 2) Who is responsible; 3) When it has to be completed by; and 4) Who needs to know about it. By doing this, your team members will feel a greater sense of control and ownership in your team priorities and know their role in what remains to be done.

In addition to going thorough this process to finish strong in 2016, go through the process to establish your Top 5 for 2017.

Throughout the planning meetings, be sure to give everyone on your team a voice in the conversation and show you value them by being approachable, friendly and helpful because doing so will help energize your team. If some participants are not speaking up, ask them to share their opinions and ideas and assure them that everyone’s ideas are necessary to get the best thinking.

Prepare to Start 2017 Strong

Invest in strengthening your culture by attending our Connection Culture Workshop offered by New Jersey Organization Development Community and the TCU Center for Connection Culture on November 3 in Newark, NJ. Details can be found at this link. The workshop will prepare you to teach and implement a clear framework and process that helps managers and leaders be more intentional about creating a high-performing, healthy workplace culture.

This is particularly important now. Healthy workplace cultures are rare today as recently pointed out by Stanford Business School professor Jeffrey Pfeffer in this quote from his latest book:

"...virtually every shred of evidence shows most workplaces filled with distrustful, disengaged, dissatisfied, despairing employees."

The best cultures have a competitive advantage that sets them apart. We hope you’ll invest in strengthening your workplace culture by joining us on Nov. 3rd.

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Michael Lee Stallard, president and cofounder of Connection Culture Group, speaks, teaches and consults on leadership, organizational culture and employee engagement. He is the author of Connection Culture and Fired Up or Burned Out. Follow him on his blogTwitterFacebookGoogle+ or LinkedIn.

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