31 December 2009

New Year Goal

Many people take this time each year to cast in stone their resolutions for the new year. I've even done this in the past. Sometimes with success, but quite often, these resolutions are quickly forgotten which is why this year I picked a new years resolution I can stick to: 1440 x 900.

Instead of resolutions, I think people should set goals. You see, a goal provides you with some lead time, a bit of a ramp up until the actual goal is achieved, whereas a resolution is here, now, immediate and absolute. Setting a goal however, provides time for adjustment, learning and experience while the goal gets closer and closer. And, if you are surrounded by great people in life, like I am fortunate enough to have near me, they will have the patience to help you in achieving your goals.

For 2010, I choose to set a goal. Just one.

My goal is to be a better communicator. Just because I work in the communications industry, doesn't mean I'm a good communicator back at the office or at home. In fact, I know I'm not great at it. Sure, I may be able to articulate and explain complex scenarios to customers, but keeping the information flow going at home and at the office is a bit more challenging for me, especially when you have as much on the go as I do at any given time. I'm not making excuses, everyone is busy, but as a business owner and father of three, I have a lot on my mind at all times, a lot more than I think anyone knows except for maybe other business owner/parents.

As a business owner, your mind is continuously multi-tasking, and not always in a good way. For example; going from thinking in the big picture on business development and planning to answering detailed job specific questions, is far more distracting than I think anyone realizes and this happens all day long. Next to Facebook, distractions and interruptions make up the largest part of my day, and this makes it very hard to put much serious thought into anything for very long. This means I have to work after hours and on weekends to complete the things that should have been done during the week.

Complicating things further is the fact that I've been battling fatigue since an encounter with a nasty virus nearly two years ago. This has taken me down a few notches, and although I'm slowly getting used to it, arriving at work in the morning already tired and having a one hour meeting wipe me out mentally is still tough to deal with at times. It's a condition that seems to be slowly getting better over time, and is - my doctor promises a full recovery but it will take a few more years.

When I've only got so many 'productive' hours in a day, interruptions are really costly and eat up my time. As I write this in my home office, I am constantly being interrupted with arguing kids, telephone calls and arguing kids. Did I mention the arguing kids? I love my kids, but sometimes they can sure test my patience.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to micromanage everything in my life, but I need to have some control over what's going on... if even just for my own sanity. Getting bogged down in the smallest of details kills productivity and renders me ineffective in any role - being a better communicator and empowering people to make their own decisions with some direction is where I want and need to be - but this too requires some planning, thought and execution.

Setting expectations is a large part of keeping order and maintaining focus for everyone. So, I believe a good start to this process is with explaining and setting expectations. People need to know what's expected of them in order for them to succeed and how to behave.

So, this is what I plan to be better at in 2010, it will take some time, but I am committed to it. The result of attaining this goal? A better leader and father. Wish me luck, and know that I appreciate your patience while I work on my goal.

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