Does this sound familiar? It’s the first month of the work year. You’re a little happy to be back (you love your kids but…). Although your inbox is overwhelming, you’re ready to start fresh in the new year. You’re working on your yearly kickoff meeting, excited about your new strategy, and have resolved to manage your time better. You’re starting to feel, dare I say, excited.
Until suddenly you don’t. Your chronically absent employee decides to extend his holiday vacation a few more days (it’s all good, he’s cool with taking it unpaid). Your unorganized boss drops a nasty project your way with an impossible deadline (but the board needs it). The peer you must partner with
In all your planning you forgot one thing: an intentional strategy to end all nonsense getting in your way. Nonsense including ending that toxic relationship, that poor employee performance, or your habits that are stalling results. Even worse, they are breaking your spirit.
Endings are necessary and shouldn’t be viewed with dread. Ending things that take up too much mental energy is healthy, especially in the workplace. I read a great book by Dr. Henry Cloud called Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have To Give Up In Order To Move Forward. Here are a few suggestions to contemplate as you consider your “endings.”
- Get very clear on why you need to end something. I mean, you know it is time to get rid of Jimmy, but why? If it’s, his incessant recapping of the entire Star Wars saga annoying the crap out of you (i.e., “did you notice, how in Episode 5, Boba Fett’s helmet was blue and not grey, which signifies…”) your trigger finger is firing off too quickly. That ending isn’t technically necessary.
- “Life Produces To Much Life.” This direct quote from the book is so simple we don’t consider it. High achievers take on a lot including relationships, work projects, and hobbies. Top-achieving companies do as well, which is not a bad thing. However, there is a tipping point. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. Items not relevant to your current strategy, suck mental energy, or break your spirit, should end.
- If you don’t normalize endings, your business (or job) can fail. Dr. Cloud explains how all companies have cycles. In my career, I have seen these cycles time and again. I’ve seen times of growth and times to cut back, periods of calm and periods of insanity. During each of these cycles we must assess what is working, and if it is not, how to end it, gracefully. This is normal and necessary. Neglecting to facilitate strategic endings can cause you and your business harm.
If you haven’t included assessing your “necessary endings” as part of your strategic plan, I hope you will consider it. These endings can be the beginning of a very successful year.
Dawn Burke, founder/advisor for Dawn Burke HR, is an HR leader, speaker and writer specializing in new HR practices, engagement and workplace culture. Her HR/leadership career has spanned the last 20 years, most recently serving as VP of People for Birmingham, AL’s award-winning technology company, Daxko (And yes, Kris Dunn and Dawn are making Bham the HR capital of the world! Who knew?). You can also check her out at DawnHBurke.com and a variety of other interesting places. Google her, it’ll keep you posted on what she is up to.