Happy 2016! In preparation for a fantastic year of professional growth I spent some time developing my work resolutions and wanted to share those with you.
Build Relationships. Successful people surround themselves with other trustworthy people. As I have invested more time in developing relationships, I’ve experienced far greater tangible and intrinsic rewards than I ever expected. Whether I’m “in the trenches” working with others to solve a problem or take on a challenging project, or learning about new opportunities, the benefits have come from relationships that I have invested and cultivated over time. I’ve come to realize that relationships are the foundation of business and challenge myself every year to find five or six people that I want to get to know better. I write them down on a list where I will see it, and am intentional about how I interact with them, meaning I follow up quickly, figure out what is important to them, and try to help them accomplish their goals.
Mentor. As a young professional, I was always told to find a mentor. While this is great advice and I’ve learned so much from mentor figures, I never thought about the importance of paying it forward and mentoring someone else. Mentoring is not only personally rewarding, but it helps you as much as the other person as you co-navigate their problems and issues. The great thing about mentoring is that it doesn’t have to involve setting up weekly meetings; effective mentoring can be as informal and unstructured as you want, because it’s about establishing trust and giving sound advice to someone. This might occur during one conversation or through hundreds of meetings over the course of many years.
Learn. A new year is a great time to take a fresh perspective on your educational goals and think about certifications or additional learning you want to pursue. Whether it’s pursuing an advanced degree, studying for a certification, or learning about something you find interesting, advancing your knowledge post-college is an intentional and individual pursuit. What you pursue will depend on your interests and goals; for those interested in supply chain or process improvement, a Six Sigma certification is a great option. If your field requires advanced degrees for advancement, focus on preparing to start a graduate or PhD program this year. Learning can also mean taking time for yourself to pursue a hobby you’ve always enjoyed; maybe learning another language or playing the piano.
Stretch Assignment. This year, I’m taking on a couple huge projects that will challenge me in a number of ways; from learning new competencies to improving my effectiveness as a leader. I love these types of projects, because I get the opportunity to learn about a new topic and create something from scratch. This year, take on a project that you do not feel qualified to lead yet. Ask your manager for support in doing so, and find someone who can coach you and help navigate challenges and questions.
Re-prioritize. Take a couple hours and brainstorm what you want to accomplish during 2016. Include work goals, learning/education goals, and anything else you want to experience, perhaps traveling to another country or learning how to golf. Give yourself deadlines for each goal and milestones to hold yourself accountable to accomplish them. Finally, outline how you are going to accomplish the goal; every great success started with a clear plan and time to achieve the goals you’ve set.