End your Business Year with a Personal Bang

It’s getting to be that time of year for most businesses, when the rally to have a strong year-end finish intersects with preparations for embarking on new projects for 2011.  Usually there is a lull right about now when vendors and clients stop returning your calls, yet you can’t start on many projects until the budget year begins January 1. 

Here are a few things things you might do in the interim to clean out the old and usher in the new in your personal work world: 

1.  Do you need to spend a “Use it or Lose It” budget(or know someone who does)?  Instead of buying a big holiday lunch for the troops, think of something that will keep on giving throughout 2011.  One year I bought ergonomic desk chairs for my entire staff from an office liquidator.  Each staffer was allowed to pick out her/his own chair (or balance ball) from a nearly new inventory.  For months and months, I received effusivepraise and thanks from my team for improving their work conditions.  I had no idea that such a small upgrade would give each of my team members an enormous feeling of being heard and valued–not to mention the physical benefits of having a seat that physically improved every body’s ability to sit for long hours.

2. Take an intern or junior staff member to lunch.   Not enough time  for you to be a full-time mentor?  Take one of your junior staff or interns to lunch or coffee outside the office, and listen to the concerns and gaps in knowledge that you hear.  Sharing some of your insights in the industry or commiserating with the state of the job market may help someone following your chosen field–and I guarantee, the enthusiasm and energy from a fledgling junior executive will be infectious!

3. Write a few recommendationsfor your contacts without their asking.  We all put off the things that aren’t critical, but would be nice to do, until we “have enough time.”  Now’s the time to write a LinkedIn recommendation, or a note to a person’s supervisor commending a person you’ve worked with on a job well done.  Wouldn’t you be over the moon if someone did the same for you?

4. Spend half an hour a day through the remainder of December to investigate new trends in your industry.  For me,  it has been a personal goal not to be a marketing dinosaur, so I’ve spent time every day investigating new media.  This brave, social media world changes constantly, and the more I investigate and experiment, the more there is to know.  We’re never too cool (or secure in our jobs) for school.

5. Write your own review.  Don’t wait until your formal review period; instead write down your outstanding accomplishments during 2010, and what can be improved for next year.  Keep this handy as your own personal business plan for your job, and measure your own progress before someone holds the yardstick up to measure you–even if you’re self-employed and you’re the one doing the measuring!

With only a couple more weeks to the end of the year, there are many ways to finish 2010 with a personal bang.  At the least, you’ll have more to remember about the season than getting your holiday shopping done and cards in the mail!

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