That’s A Wrap

Use the end of the year for analysis and checking in on your team.

Is your to-do list always as long as your arm, and now so long it’s become hard to read? (Shoot, is that eye exam overdue?) Are you balancing more charitable contributions than normal? Has it started to seem as though your employees are out of the office 50% of the time? Must be the holidays.

If the New Year is an overly popular time for resolutions, December is overlooked as an opportunity for insight and growth – and understandably so. At no other time of year are most of us so swamped with social obligations, work functions and acts of kindness. 

So, knowing you’re doing twice as much with half the labor available this month, how do you handle things? Well, first, forget resolutions. We have study after study showing they don’t really work. Instead, use your time to conduct an end-of-year analysis (or, hey, go to that holiday party after all).

First, I recommend checking resources like the balance small business at thebalancesmb.com if you don’t have an end-of-year review process established. They publish a year-end financial checklist that will take you through balance sheets, income and cash-flow statements, and (gulp) getting your tax documents ready.

Consider using your office holiday or year-end party to spread good cheer and to check in with your team members. You likely are familiar with their wages, time off, projects completed and to-do list items. What about how they’re doing as human beings? What major life events have excited or stressed them? What dreams do they have outside the workplace (and how can you help them get there)? If you have the opportunity to meet family members, take a genuine interest; these are your staff’s closest advisors, people who will influence if and when they decide to look for other work.

The holidays can be frustrating. You want to get work done and you’re yearning for some time away, so you find yourself rushing to get things completed, only to wait seemingly endlessly for responses and feedback. Try setting aside an hour or two per day of do-not-disturb time. Be consistent and let your team know you’re allocating resources for the coming year. Then, set up an office hour for your employees – door’s open; all are welcome. Segmenting your day will seem uncomfortable at first, but will help you weather the hurry-up-and-wait as folks begin to take their end-of-year vacations.

And should you enjoy a quick sip of eggnog with the door closed and your financial spreadsheets open, don’t worry – we won’t tell. Happy holidays!