Here it comes again. New Year’s Day. Time to make a bunch more resolutions!! Myself, I’ve never been much for resolutions. Each year I make the same one: “this year I resolve not to make any resolutions”. What has led me to this is that the things that we generally resolve to do are things we probably should do all of the time anyway. So why do we wait until New Years Day to promise ourselves to eat less, read more, give more, curse less or exercise more. I love this last one … you can’t get a seat on an exercise bike at the gym for the month of January, and you can’t get an appointment at the physiotherapist in February!
The majority of times we make these resolutions and then disappoint ourselves by not
following through. So when we sit back and admit to ourselves that we haven’t changed our weight, our TV watching, our bad language or the amount of sweat passing through our pores, we either shrug and say it wasn’t meant to be, or worse, tell ourselves that we are a failure and resort to more of the behaviours we were trying to change. Why do we do this? I’m sure there are a lot of well researched and scientifically valid theories for this, but in my own simple way I think it is because resolutions focus on something we don’t like about ourselves rather than spending our energies being more of what we really love about ourselves and/or doing more of what we love to do. Further, We’ve learned to define our value in the world by being more productive, more helpful, more important, more valuable, more loveable … more something as measured by someone else. Not by us … by someone else. So we tell ourselves that as important as our resolutions are they don’t help us measure up. They then wane in importance and we go back to trying to win the measurement wars.
What if instead of traditional resolutions we looked at what would be possible if we were to do some things that are much more essentially linked to who we are? What if we resolved to spend more time in meaningful connection with others? What if we resolved to spend more time creating something that has real meaning to us? Or expressing things that we long to express? Or focusing on what contributions we really want to make to our community? Or experiencing more of the things that give us true joy?
These bolded words are at the true core of what causes us to grow as humans. And if we focus on doing more of these things would we actually find ourselves ready to remove the barriers that stopped us from making our initial resolutions a daily reality? Would we find that we begin to look more inwardly for sense of self and find that our old measures of “more something” fall away? And by feeling better about our ability to measure up to these new standards find that we naturally do the things that resolutions were intended for? And would we naturally be “more” but in a much more fulfilling way than we were previously chasing?
And how does this apply at an organizational level? Well I think it is true that organizations also make resolutions for the new year. We call them annual plans. These plans may be of the “more of the same” variety that do not require organizational change. But many organizations are in a highly competitive, constantly evolving market that demands that the organization change or fade away. And yet as an organization we often don’t look inwardly at our structure and our team to see if we are capable of shifting as our plans to address these dynamic markets require.
Just as we as individuals can look to our essential skills as our source of fulfillment, so can an organization. If an organization has a clear view of its purpose, and then awakes each day with the goal of bringing together its team of co-collaborators to contribute in ways that deploy their essential talents, then the best of those individuals will appear when needed to help lead the organization through the required change. Our key as leaders is to look for opportunities to put the five words into play for each team member:
- What connection(s) do they want to make?
- What does each member long to create?
- What do they really want to express and how do they want to express it?
- What contribution are they eager to make?
- What experience do they desire?
If we ran our organization with a mindset of releasing the full talents and gifts of our
teams every day, I wonder if we would ever stop to make a plan because we’d be moving so boldly through the market we would be too overwhelmed by the possibilities in front of us to stop and constrain ourselves by a plan.
So once again this year, I will resolve not to make any resolutions. Lets just boldly follow our dreams.