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An executive approach to New Year’s resolutions

Melvin B. Miller
An executive approach to New Year’s resolutions
“Working together this year we can make things better!”

People are enamored with their bad habits. Even though the habits are often not helpful, they become part of one’s persona. For example, when smoking was more acceptable, a lit cigarette handled adroitly could have dramatic affect. And often, those who imbibed and provided alcoholic beverages too generously were considered to be affable and congenial, even when their speech was slurred. There was often no New Year’s resolution to change those attributes.

However, people often are concerned about those traits that might interfere with professional or business success. It is appropriate, therefore, to consider the tough standards of the corporate equivalent of New Year’s resolutions. Standard personal New Year’s resolutions are pretty mild by comparison.

Experienced business executives always prepare operating projections of the firm for the coming year. Data on anticipated revenue and costs enable them to predict the company’s performance, which will be carefully reviewed every three months. This provides an opportunity for the executive to make needed adjustments. No CEO wants to be surprised by the company’s operating results at the end of the year. Business firms set a much higher standard than the traditional personal New Year’s resolutions.

Many people just wish for good luck as the new year arrives. They hope that 2018 will be better than past years. But how many really develop a plan for success? Achievement is part of the American culture, but if you have no plan for success, how will you know when you get there? It is much more satisfying to have mastery over your personal life than to drift as your impulses direct.

The corporate operating projection provides another dimension that is often forgotten. How many people really stay focused on their resolutions throughout the year? What is the point if there is never an assessment of your success, or your failure?

The best course is to start with a small list of improvements, be specific about the required conduct and schedule regular periods to evaluate your progress. Everyone really knows what changes in performance will ultimately lead to success.

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