It’s that time of year again when we have made New Year’s resolutions and absolutely, positively (“this time I’m really doing it”) commit to doing things or behaving differently in the upcoming year. The success of your organizational goals can often be helped or hindered by the motivation your team feels – so how do you get them to transition from last year and start fresh with renewed commitment to the annual goals? How can you keep them focused and motivated, while acknowledging them as individuals with many, sometimes conflicting roles and goals? We have three suggestions.

1. Complete And Acknowledge The Past Year

Clearly, we do meet many of our objectives; however, many fall by the wayside even with good intent. We too often just want to move on to the next year and start anew. However, in order to be most effective and productive for the future, you need to finish up the prior year and acknowledge what worked and what didn’t work. Have each of your team members, including you, create a list of all the unfinished business. Put it aside. Don’t dwell on it.

  • Leave old and dead ideas in the past. If you’ve been reworking the same plan over and over, why not leave it in the past and start with a fresh view? You will be surprised what you come up with when you leave the past in the past.
  • Clean up unfinished business in your relationships. Commit to speaking with colleagues with whom you don’t have a stellar relationship and improve it so you can all move into the New Year with a clean slate.
    Have each member acknowledge 5 things they did well over the past year whether functionally or developmentally, acknowledge 2 big lessons learned, and acknowledge at least 2 other team members and their accomplishments. This can be done privately or in a group setting.
  • After you complete this, declare the year done and then move on.

2. Recognize Your Team Has Priorities Outside Of The Office

It can be helpful for teams to recognize that personal goals can be part of the annual goal setting process and can help create a more motivated and energized work force. Recall how you feel when you slip up on a personal resolution – most of us feel tempted to trash the whole list, which is why most resolutions are non-existent by the end of Q1.

Why not encourage your team to share a personal goal with the group? A little group awareness and support can have positive carry-over into the team dynamic. If someone is trying to eat healthier, maybe the morning donuts can be substituted for a fruit tray or if another team member is trying to make a child’s weekly soccer game, end of day meetings can be shifted without others feeling resentment. A few small changes can help team members stay on track out of the office, which helps to keep everyone feeling motivated.

3. Encourage Your Team To Talk To You About Resource Needs

Most work objectives are not a matter of one person, but a team effort with many interdependencies. An open dialogue about each team member’s needs from each other, as well as from other functional groups can lead to a great discussion about priorities and work flow. As a manager, it can highlight where you will need to source support and prioritize work in order to reach the goals.

If you follow these three suggestions for any area of your business whether it’s marketing, commercial, finance, HR, corporate, or for projects large and small, you’ll find that you’ll have a great deal more success to celebrate when the next New Year rolls around.