I suspect most of us are glad to see 2020 in our rearview mirror. It has been an incredibly tough year, with many losses and challenges. But hard times also have a way of bringing growth and new perspectives. Now it’s time to take the lessons we’ve learned and move forward with that sense of hope and renewed energy that often comes with a new year.

That said, what are your hopes and plans and goals for 2021? If you haven’t given it much thought yet I encourage you to do so. I find taking a few hours to sit down, reflect, brainstorm, plan, and write out our goals can go a long way toward setting us up for success in the new year.

Taking the time to think about what is working, what isn’t working, and what we might do even better as we move forward is powerful. It forces us to get intentional and focused.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself here at the start of 2021:

1. First, in the area of wellbeing: How am I doing? How are my employees? Where might they need support? A business can really only be as healthy as the people who work there. Wellbeing is physical, mental, and emotional. Think about what changes you might make (and encourage in others) in terms of diet, exercise, rest, meditation, etc.

2. What did I learn from 2020? How best to share it? How best to incorporate it into my life and business?

3. What are the two things I really want to work on this year? Don’t pick too many. Ask others for feedback. Ask employees to do the same. Get accountable on this one.

4. Does my calendar reflect my priorities? Notice where you are spending your time. It doesn’t matter what we say that is important. It’s what we do that shows the truth.

5. What changes do we need to make to make things better for customers? Things have changed a lot over the past year. Customer’s needs may be different now. Do we need to make some changes to better meet their new needs?

6. What training is needed for our team? Get a plan in place, set some dates, and get some training sessions on the calendar so you’ll be sure to do them.

7. Do we have the right people in the right seats? Are there slots that need to be filled with the right talent? Is anyone about to leave that I may not be aware of? 


8. How well am I communicating? Does my team know the plan? It is so important that everyone understands the external environment. It creates a sense of urgency and ownership and helps employees understand the “why” behind what we are asking them to do.

9. Is our work arrangement working? Can we offer more flexible scheduling? Could people who aren’t already working virtually move to virtual, or conversely, is it time to bring virtual employees back to the office (as soon as it is safe, of course)? It is so important to keep talent so make sure people are happy with the current arrangement.

10. Are our front line and mid-level managers equipped with what they need? They are the leaders that employees experience the most so it’s crucial they are well-trained. (Remember, people don’t leave their job, they leave their boss.)

11. Do we have a good reward and recognition program in place? Do we celebrate wins? Do people truly feel acknowledged and appreciated?

12. What do we measure? What should we measure? What do we do with the metrics once we know them?

You may have other questions you’re asking yourself to kick off the new year, but these came to top of mind. I would love to hear what you plan to do differently in 2021. As always, I am grateful to you for reading this column. My hope is that we all have a safe, healthy, prosperous, and happy new year.