Today is the first day of office work in 2017 for many people. (While I know some of you worked on 1/2, it was technically a federal holiday.) You’ll arrive at your desk/office/cubicle/etc. rife with possibilities. It’s a long way from now until the end of 2017, and so much potential is in front of you. What are you going to do with it?
Now, let’s be clear on a couple of things. We, as human beings, love to think that the beginning of a new year is a maximum time for change. In reality, you can change on April 21st or on June 11th. It doesn’t matter. Change is usually (in offices) a necessity because of shifting priorities and business needs, so January 1st (or 3rd) won’t be the only time this year you need to consider goals and strategy. It happens a lot.
Second element is this: the first few days back, most people are housekeeping. Heck, I’m in that mode right now too. I was going to post some podcasts today, but the end of year got away from me and I’m doing this blog. I’ve got a huge backlog of emails; I’m sure you do too. So with everyone in housekeeping mode instead of meeting mode, it’s a good time to reflect and set personal agendas and prioritize work. We know from research that a lot of organizations are priority vacuums, but when leaders get clear on their own alignment, they can defeat that and do truly productive work.
So what are your goals in 2017?
This will vary by person
Logical, yes? I did want to draw your attention to this interview with Anil Dash, the CEO of Fog Creek Software. They make Trello, Stack Overflow, and some other collaborative tools. It’s a good, far-reaching interview and there’s a lot of content about the future of technology, which I think is worrying some people. (For another good read on all this, try this New Yorker profile of Sam Altman.)
I know you read 10 million “goal setting” articles at the end of one year/beginning of the next, but I like this Anil Dash interview. He claims that leadership of a department (i.e. being a CCO) boils down to three basic things:
- People need a clear understanding of values, so they can understand the framework by which they make decisions on their own
- They need clear goals, so they know what they’re working toward
- And they need support, in terms of resources and infrastructure and just basic human needs at an emotional or social level
Yes, yes, and yes!
Quick interlude: My podcast
One of the things I was most proud of in 2016 (a goal I achieved!) was launching my customer experience podcast. 32 episodes later, and I’m still learning new approaches and strategy from my guests every week. In fact, here’s a list of some of the big 2016 lessons I learned creating this podcast.
If you go and listen to any episode — any one, honestly — these three bullet points from above will be involved. Values drive the work. Unfortunately, too often executives think of values as words on a wall. They’re not. It’s the living, breathing version of your culture and, essentially, how you let people behave. Goals are a must. Personally and professionally. And you need to support and develop your team. Some of the best CCOs in the world — from some of the highest-earning companies — have been on my podcast, and they all discuss these three elements more than almost anything.
So get down to goal planning
You know the old cliche: this is Page 1 of 365. What are your goals this year? Leave a few in the comments if you feel so inclined. I’d love to hear them!