7 Ways Vocational Leaders Can End The Year Strong

December 1, 2016 Productivity, Uncategorized

I love this time of year. As 2016 exits and the new year approaches, we have a unique chance to use the next 31 days to reflect and start fresh both personally and in our vocational leadership roles.

We can use this time to make the needed changes that will not only help us end this year strong but also start the new one with forward momentum.

The question I have for you is: are you using this time wisely? Or are you allowing yourself to fall into the reactive state that the Holiday’s can cause? With all the family gatherings and parties you fail to take the time to step back and decompress your progress. If you are a minister this can be an especially challenging time of year with so many events and services.

In this post we will go through 7 ways to maximize personal growth, relationship growth, and ministry growth in the next 31 days.

1. Force yourself to take a day to decompress

Entrepreneurship coach Dan Sullivan says that you have to take a full day to decompress a year. The reason for this is to go down all of the rabbit holes from the past year and spend time thinking about three things:

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go so well?
  3. How can I improve next year?

Go through as many projects, initiatives, and ministries that you can think of

2. Get perspective

Ask the 5 people you are closest to how they think you did in 2016 and how you can improve as a leader. This exercise is very revealing and takes humility to do well. However, the insights you will gain from this experience will help you grow exponentially by focusing on your strengths (you’ll see what they are when your close friends tell you) and seeing where you are limited.

Outline limitations that you see personally and think through how you can organize team members and develop systems to help you stop these things in 2017.

3. Acknowledge Your Organization’s STARS

Who was it who excelled in your organization in 2016? Make a list of people and then write a handwritten note to each of them naming one SPECIFIC thing they did. This helps cultivate deeper relationships with your key people and motivates them to keep it up in 2017.

4. Advent Decompress (do this at the end of the month)

After all of the craziness has come and gone, take time to look back on the month of December and think about how your advent services and projects fared. During this decompression, look at the emotional health of your staff as well as the emotional health of the people you serve. Are there things you could have done better? What went well? Acknowledge the good things as well as the things that need improvement.

5. Intentionally reach out to people in your organization who lost a family member or close friend in 2016

The Holiday season is especially tough for people who have lost a loved one during the year. And while it has been disproven that more suicides happen this time of year (http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/12/no-suicides-dont-rise-during-the-holidays/419436/) it doesn’t change the fact that reflecting on our families and loved ones in the past year is normal and can be painful if that person is no longer with us.
The best time to reach out is on the 26th. Simply make a phone call to those people in your organization and let them know you are thinking about them. This alone can change your organization next year.

6. Reach out to those donors/trustees that didn’t make their pledge

Reach out to your business manager and ask them for a list of people who didn’t make their pledged amount for the year. The purpose is not to reach out and ask why, but to affirm them as members of your community and help them realize they are family. Just because a pledge wasn’t met doesn’t mean they aren’t welcome in your community.

We don’t know everyone’s circumstances – people lose jobs or unexpected expenses pop up. When people realize that they can’t make a financial commitment they often disengage out of fear of being shamed. Be proactive: reach out and affirm them before this negative thought pattern takes effect.

7. Celebrate

Pour yourself a glass of wine and smile. You’ve lived another year, your organization is still here, and you get a fresh start in 31 days.