Ahh, December 1st. The beginning of the end! We asked our colleagues here at Prime Chief of Staff on how the beginning of December makes them feel, and the responses, as you can imagine, were varied.
Some responded that the start of December makes them think of the approaching new year and gets them excited to set new goals and refresh their focus. Others reacted with disbelief that 2022 is nearly over, wondering where the time went for all their best laid plans. As we discussed the end of the year, we began sharing the goals we set for ourselves in 2022. Some we achieved, some are nearly in our grasp, and some of those goals stopped making sense or got postponed.
Regardless of our positive or mixed reactions to 2022’s goals and their status, we all agreed that setting goals can be a great tool to aid us in our achievements, both personal and professional. Within our firm, we frequently assess our progress and the alignment of our goals. As a team, we’ve found that new goals are best set after analyzing the chapter you just closed.
So, as we begin December, we pose ten questions for you to consider as the year winds down. Use these as journal prompts, as starting points to draft next year’s goals, and maybe ask your colleagues their responses. This exercise is best done without self-judgment. Try to consider your progress and achievements in a matter-of-fact tone, with appreciation for all that you’ve achieved this year and all the hopes you have for yourself.
WHICH GOALS DID I ACCOMPLISH?
Take a beat to reflect on your accomplishments. Hard work is one of the best motivators for future and ongoing goals. Take note of what aided your achievements; was there a tool, system, or routine that made the difference? If so, lean into those in the new year. If there’s something you know hindered your success, make note of that too. Habit trackers can be a useful tool in building or breaking habits.
WHICH GOALS STOPPED MAKING SENSE FOR ME?
What seems like failure can might really be a shifting of priorities, skills, and focus. Don’t look down on not meeting a goal due to its inapplicability. Being aligned with your goals is essential to achieving them.
WHICH GOALS CAN I REFRESH AND PERSIST AT IN 2023?
There is zero shame in holding onto a goal not yet realized. With each year that passes, we grow smarter, connect with more collaborators, and attune to what we really desire. Keep track of old goals as they can be the spark for new ideas and objectives at any point in our lives.
AM I SATISFIED WITH HOW I SPENT MY TIME THIS YEAR?
As a leader, its likely you are wishing for more time to focus on the bigger picture. Culture initiatives, strategic planning, and succession strategy are at the top of leaders’ lists, but are often sacrificed for the small, administrative tasks that we all get hung up on. Take a look at your calendar over the last few months. Better yet—conduct an audit of your time in 2022. How much of your time was spent in meetings, editing documents, or completing administrative tasks that a colleague could take on? Ask yourself, did you allow enough time to plan, create, and inspire this year? Identify the things you should be doing but aren’t, and eliminate or delegate tasks that distract you from the work that adds the most value to your organization.
AM I BEING BOLD ENOUGH?
After the strife and uncertainty of the pandemic, midterm elections, and economy, it can be tempting to simply stay the course and be satisfied by modest strides. But what are you sacrificing by avoiding innovation and eschewing intimidating, bold ideas? As the leader of the company, being bold and finding creative solutions starts with you. Ask yourself, did you model bold behavior this year? How many new ideas did you try?
AM I WORKING HARDER WHEN I COULD BE WORKING SMARTER?
You already know that technology moves at a rapid pace. But are you considering what technology might enable you and your staff to work more efficiently? If your office has yet to begin using tools that offer asynchronous communication, real-time collaboration, and dynamic dashboards, it might be time to shop around for some new tools. Some favorites here at Prime are Loom, Airtable, and Zapier.
WHAT SKILLS CAN I SHARPEN TO HELP ME REACH MY DESIRED ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2023?
We all have one or two areas where we know we could be doing better. Whether it’s a hard or soft skill, a work relationship that could be smoother, or a project that just won’t end, being honest about where you’re not performing your best can help you assess where you might need support. Consider taking classes, joining a peer group, or consulting an advisor to sharpen your skills and crowdsource solutions to your misgivings.
WERE MY COLLABORATORS AND COLLEAGUES AWARE OF MY GOALS?
Making your peers aware of your goals can keep you accountable. When your colleagues know what you’re focused on, they can serve as collaborators, supporters, and even mentors. They can be your sounding board when you’re questioning your approach, or wondering if a goal has stopped making sense for you. A Chief of Staff or Deputy Director might be just the person to help keep you focused on your goals and determine what can be delegated.
WOULD IMMEDIATE HELP IMPROVE THE WELLBEING OF MY EXECUTIVE TEAM?
Sometimes we realize we need an extra set of hands long past the point of burnout. When it seems like every member of your executive team needs more support than you can give, it may be prudent to consider immediate, temporary support. Interim Chiefs of Staff, Executive Assistants, and Office Managers can jump right into your web of lists and overdue deliverables with little orientation. Interim support members have deep experience supporting executive offices. They’re also able to quickly understand pain points, sticky systems, and bottlenecks and meet them with tried-and-true solutions.
DO I HAVE THE RIGHT PEOPLE ON MY EXECUTIVE TEAM?
Building an executive office is a science. It takes a keen eye for talent, sharp EQ receptors, and a knack for team building. Its natural to outgrow an executive team structure. If you feel you need an extra brain on your bench, or if your team members are ready to level up, consider seeking expert advice. An outsider’s perspective will be helpful in identifying the individuals who are ready for more responsibility. An advisor might also notice who is ready for a different manager or set of direct reports. Perhaps you’ve been curious what a Chief of Staff could bring to your team. Maybe your executive office is in desperate need of a top-notch executive assistant. With the right team of advisors in place, you can rest assured that expansions and alterations to your executive office will be made with thoughtfulness and intentionality.
We offer you cheers to 2023 and congratulations on 2022. It’s our sincerest wish that you utilize everything you have learned this year to make amazing business decisions and meet your most ambitious goals in the new year. If your executive office would benefit from immediate help, sourcing talent, or an assessment of effectiveness, we welcome your partnership in 2023.