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Resolutions already forgotten? Behavioural resolutions result in business success.

Erik Vermeulen

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Resolutions

The practice of making New Year’s Resolutions dates as far back as the Babylonians and the Romans. The ancient Babylonian people made promises to their gods at the start of each year to pay their debts while Romans pledged themselves to the god Janus who the month of January was named after.

Janus was revered as the god of beginnings and transitions. Knights of the medieval era re-affirmed their commitment to the chivalric code at the end of every Christmas season by taking the ‘peacock vow’.

Many religious groups view the New Year as a time to reflect upon the year past and prepare for the year ahead, making resolutions to behave better in the time to come and asking forgiveness for past mistakes.

Today, many maintain the practice of making these resolutions, burdening themselves with a list of goals or wanton accomplishments for the year ahead. While fun is often poked at the sentiment, as many do not adhere to these resolutions, goals cannot be achieved if they are not set in the first place.

Goals for all

Businesses owners or managers also task themselves with setting resolutions for their businesses, but in the business world these resolutions are termed ‘strategy’. Often these resolutions or strategies are developed at the company’s ‘bosberaad’ or a management retreat.

The mistake that many management teams make is that the resolutions set mean very little to the employees of the company or to its customers resulting in the ‘action plan’ set becoming somewhat of a white elephant.

Seven paths to success

How then can resolutions be set that will make a true difference to business success? Seven basic resolutions can be implemented to enable companies to achieve their goals in 2013. These are behavioural resolutions that engage employees and customers alike, drawing buy-in and contributing to overall success.

1. Place the needs of others on the same priority level as your own.  This entails taking into consideration what others, including customers and colleagues, need from you in order to be successful in their own endeavours.

The business world can be a selfish place, but by working together greater success can be achieved by all. Place a focus on helping to build a community in which we all hep each other to achieve the company’s goals.

2. Give assistance to, and be willing to receive assistance from, customers and colleagues. Although asking for help is something which many people find difficult to do, being open to receiving help from others is just as important as being willing to help those around you.

A culture of being aware of one-another’s needs and the willingness to give help without superiority or condescension breeds a team that is strong in itself, thriving through knowledge sharing and impenetrable partnerships.

3. Do things today and not tomorrow. Driving away procrastination is the third resolution. Procrastination is not only the thief of time; it is also the biggest enemy of passion and progress. The practice of constantly putting things off leads to missed deadlines, increased pressure and a general lack of motivation.

Completing tasks immediately shows unequivocal passion, while procrastination sends a message to employees and clients that your work is not important to you.

4. Learn something new every day. Whether it’s something about the company’s products, its employees or its customers. By showing genuine interest and professional curiosity knowledge is built and the business, employee or customer is left feeling as though they are interesting enough to be taken note of; it indicates that you are willing to go the extra mile.

More importantly, it shows people that they are of value and that their needs, goals and passions are being considered. By asking questions and really listening to the answers, we broaden our knowledge base, show respect and build solid relationships.

5. Lead the way by being positive and friendly to all. It may be an old adage, but it is true nonetheless; positivity breeds positivity, and negativity breeds negativity. Positivity and having an upbeat attitude is infectious and it displays to everyone that the organisation is passionate about what it does.

It is human nature to become what we see – if you are constantly catching your boss napping at his desk, what is stopping you from doing the same. To create a team that works better, is more innovative and craves more knowledge, begin by demonstrating these traits yourself.

6. Search for perspective by being your own customer. This may be the most difficult resolution, requiring a complete perspective shift and a certain level of honest introspection. Taking a step back and viewing our own behaviour from our customers’ perspective provides the opportunity to consider how our behaviour truly affects our clients.

It also allows us to better recognise our customers’ requirements and helps to ensure that we fulfil on the promises we make.

7. Do the right thing. While doing the right thing may not always be doing the easy thing, the consequences are far easier to deal with than when the wrong thing is done. If the right thing is done there is no need for apologies, do-overs or answering to allegations of being dishonest, unethical or irresponsible.

As professionals we have a duty to behave morally and proficiently, giving colleagues no excuse for sub-par performance.

Executing New Year’s Resolutions may be far more difficult than drawing than up, but rather than create some unilateral ‘strategies’ that don’t truly benefit anyone, implement these seven simple resolutions with a dedication to continue them on into the second quarter and throughout the rest of 2013.

The results will speak for themselves.

Erik Vermeulen is the founder of Leader Motivation Systems. His main focus is the facilitation of behavioural styles workshops, particularly with respect to building effective sales teams. The company’s current flagship product is a behavioural culture development programme. For more information, please contact Erik Vermeulen on +27 (0)83 603 7119, at erik@erikvermeulen.com or visit www.erikvermeulen.com.

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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio – More Than An SUV

The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession.

Alfa Romeo

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The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession. The Stelvio pass is widely seen as one of the most beautiful and engaging roads on the planet.

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Setting & Achieving Goals

What You Put In Is What You Get Out – Create Your Own Success

The secret to curating a successful life starts with what you put in.

Allon Raiz

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putting-in-effort

You are what you eat, the saying goes. Your physical and even mental health are highly dependent on what you eat (or consume) daily. There are four fundamental factors of a system:  Input, boundaries, purpose and output. All systems are mostly defined by the combination of these four factors.

A professional athlete will be very diligent about what they consume in order to achieve the best possible outcome, and sprinters will have different guides and regimes to marathon runners. Essentially, high performing athletes curate their input, or design their own lives, to produce a favourable output.

The same is true of the high-performance entrepreneur — they too should be curating their input, not just in terms of what they consume through their mouths but more importantly, what they consume with their ears and eyes.

Related: For Shatty Mashego Success Lies In Maintaining A Positive Mindset

Positive inputs

A few years ago, I began to recognise that even though I might wake up in a good space in the morning, by 10am I would be feeling negative regardless of my daily practices. I had already established the discipline of recording and recognising my successes daily, as well as repeating daily affirmations and visualisations, yet within a few hours of starting my day, I found myself in a negative space.

I couldn’t figure out what was causing this; but after some analysis I realised that my daily routine included listening to talk radio on the way to work, catching up with the news on Twitter before my first meeting, and reading the morning paper which was neatly laid out on my desk. It quickly became clear that my negativity could be attributed to my over-consumption of bad news.

Each communication platform — from Twitter to the radio — has the power to depress anyone who consumes its news, but the combination of all three was toxic to me. It affected my mood, concentration and, invariably, my output. In a single decision, I eliminated these three platforms from my daily ‘diet’ and instead curated a different morning experience to see whether it would change the output. Instead of the radio, I decided to listen to either music or an audiobook; instead of Twitter, I decided to call a friend; and I didn’t renew my newspaper subscription.

The results were instantaneous. This experiment set me on a mission to see what else I could deliberately curate and design, so I began to strategically design my life to inform the successful and positive output that I desired. I subscribed to online newsletters that were informative and thought-provoking, such as Brain Food by Shane Parish; I cajoled my management team to begin listening to audiobooks at the same time that I was doing so to ensure that we included positive discussions in our bi-monthly meetings; and I ensured that there were always three litres of water in my immediate surrounds to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Create your own success

In case you haven’t experienced the lightbulb moment yet, the simple explanation is this: All systems have inputs and outputs, and the quality of the input results in the quality of the output.

If you see yourself as the curator of your input and as the architect of your environment, you can start to create the inputs, set the boundaries and define purposes to result in the output that commands entrepreneurial success.

Related: Daily Practices for Cultivating a Positive Work Culture to Support Your Business

If something really affects the quality of your life — whether it’s your attitude, your mood or the clarity of your thought processes — it’s time to relook the design and start to curate an environment that is conducive to your success.

And, if you’re concerned about missing out on what’s happening, always remember that, if a news report or update has a direct impact on your life, the chances are high that you will hear it through your friends and family.

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Setting & Achieving Goals

Follow These 8 Steps To Stay Focused And Reach Your Goals

Decrease the amount of noise in your head.

Nina Zipkin

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reaching-goals

Accomplishing a goal can be hard work. But even if a project is something you are passionate about and want to complete, distractions such as social media, doubts and other tasks can make it nearly impossible to concentrate on it. Don’t fret. We’re here to help.

Check out these eight steps to help you prioritise and clear your mind.

1. Stop multitasking

Instead of trying to do a million things at once, take a step back and tackle one task at a time. And while your inclination might be to start your day with busy work – like checking emails – and then move onto to the harder things, you should try to get your brain moving by challenging yourself with with a bigger, more creative endeavor first thing.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

2. Block out your days

A good way to hold yourself accountable when it comes to quieting the noise all around you is to specifically block out time in your day – maybe it’s 30 minutes or an hour – to spend on a given project.

Colour code your calendar or set a timer to make sure you are accomplishing the goal at hand.

3. Get your blood pumping

going-for-a-walk

You can’t focus if your are stuck inside and staring at a screen all day long. Turn off your computer and phone, and go for a walk for 20 minutes. The fresh air and the movement will clear your head. Also make sure that you are drinking enough water and getting enough rest.

4. Help your technology help you

A platform like RescueTime, a software that runs while you work and shows you how you are spending your day, could help you understand why something is taking longer to complete than it should. Options like Cold TurkeyFreedom and Self Control block out the internet entirely to keep you off your Twitter feed when you should be meeting deadlines.

5. Meditate

Get a recommendation for a yoga or meditation class, or even make it an office outing so everyone get some time to quiet their minds. Or look online for a plethora of apps and platforms whose stock and trade is mindfulness, like Meditation Made SimpleCalm and Headspace.

For slightly more of a monetary investment, you could look into wearable tech like Thync, a device that produces electrical pulses to help your brain decrease stress.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win

6. Change up what’s in your headphones

headphones

While background noise might help block out a loud office or construction outside your window, you need to be careful that what you are listening to isn’t distracting you more.

Music with lyrics can sap your focus from the task in front of you, so consider trying classical or electronic music instead. Or use a playlist that is familiar to you, so you aren’t tempted to turn all your attention to the new sound.

7. Streamline your communication

If you find that all of your focus gets trained on getting your inbox down to zero, think about how you can get yourself out from under a relentless deluge of email. Ask yourself and your colleagues to think about whether this conversation would be most effective through email, on the phone or in person.

Taking five minutes to walk over to someone else’s workspace will save you the time and energy invested into a redundant email chain and clarify how you want to attack a problem more quickly.

Related: 7 Steps To Achieving Our Higher-Level Goals

8. Find an environment with the right kind of noise

To be the most effective, you need to strike a delicate balance between too much noise and total silence. According to David Burkus, an associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University, “some level of office banter in the background might actually benefit our ability to do creative tasks, provided we don’t get drawn into the conversation,” Burkus wrote in the Harvard Business Review.

“Instead of total silence, the ideal work environment for creative work has a little bit of background noise. That’s why you might focus really well in a noisy coffee shop, but barely be able to concentrate in a noisy office.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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