The start of a year. The start of a decade. Everyone’s pumped and ready to make their mark. But before you charge head first into a frenzy of activity, take a moment and think about what will truly make a difference in 2020.
If you improve at one thing this year, let it be management. You can always be better and nothing has more of an impact than good management. Whether it’s line management of one person or a team. No matter if you work in a start up with five people or a big company of thousands. Management is the difference maker.
Upwards management. Peer management. Line management. Expectation management. It’s all about working with people and contributing to an organisation’s culture. So influence the setting of objectives, help to build the consensus to achieve them, and foster a commitment within the team to deliver them.
Good managers create teams that are greater than the sum of their parts.
We’ve all had terrible managers and we’ve all had wonderful ones, so we should all know the impact that good management has on lives, on careers and on work. And that truly is the power of good management: getting a team to deliver collectively what it could not do individually. Good managers create teams that are greater than the sum of their parts. Invest your time in being better, and then focus on being better still.
Remembering that the what is as important as the why
In the past decade a lot of time and effort was spent on why. Why do we do things? What’s our purpose? What drives us? All important questions. But we shouldn’t let that get in the way of thinking about the whats. As in: what are people actually doing? What are they buying? What are we trying to achieve?
This is all practical stuff. And being practical is the difference maker. So define your purpose, but also deliver it. Want to help protect the environment? Set out a plan to do it and then do it.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) need to be hit by 2030, the UN is calling this the decade of delivery. It’s all about sorting out what we’re doing not why we’re doing it. You should’ve sorted out the why by now.
Now let’s bring this down from the high levels of climate change and global advancement. The what is equally important whether you’re shifting product, generating leads or influencing legislation. Being practical will set you apart. So focus on it. Spend more time developing plans than strategy.
That leads us nicely on to the most important thing to do this year: deliver stuff. Want to do stand out work? Do it. Commission it. Sell it. Get it out there. Be as ambitious as you like, but make sure you actually deliver stuff. Outcomes trump outputs, but you tend to get no outcomes without outputs. That’s an awful sentence, but I know you understand it. It’s good enough. It delivers. Make sure you deliver too.
All this stuff will still be true next year and the year after. It was true last year too.