I am not sure about everybody else but my December has been hectic. It seems as though everybody needs something urgently completed pre Christmas and the pressure has been really on. On top of this, it is Christmas party season and as a person who is prone to over indulgence it can be an exhausting period. In saying this, we are about to enter into a quieter time; a time that should be spent with family and friends and a time for re-charging your batteries. For me, the Christmas break also offers a time for reflection on the year that has passed and allows me to plan for the year ahead.
The short answer is that it has taught me many lessons and some of them have been enlightening, embarrassing and sometimes entertaining. Let me share a few with you now:
- Good people make great businesses. This simple statement is part of our overall mission statement and it has never rung more true than it did for me in 2015. I think one of the greatest but most overlooked recruitment strategies is to actually recruit people of a good character. Good people tend to be resilient, unselfish and team players. Good people are curios and keen to see others do well. There is nothing more important for companies recruiting than to ensure that the character of their target is one of high repute.
- Change is everywhere and the speed of change is increasing at a drastic rate. I promise that I am not going to use buzz words like “disruption” and “agility” and you won’t see a photo of me lying on a beach or sitting in a mountain hut with a lap top! However, the speed of change should not be understated and, if anything, should be embraced. However, people in many organisations are uncertain and feeling scared as to what the future holds for them and their families. Will their jobs still be around in one year? Will their company still be in existence? These fears are real and well realised. With that said, it has never been more important to continuously connect with your workforce and transparently share your goals, hopes and vision otherwise fear and paranoia grow a life of their own.
- The world is smaller now than ever before. No, this is not a geographical statistic – this is a social fact. We are all working in global markets where solutions can be found in many different parts of the globe. People work remotely and are often working from mobile hubs. This brings opportunity and challenges. If you were to tell me in 2012 that in three years I would have “offices” in The Philippines and Bali as well services throughout the USA, I would have laughed at you. However, the world has certainly become smaller for me in recent years. As the world has become smaller, competition has increased and the focus is on productivity as never before.
- There are more barriers placed in front of you than ever before. Yes, business is tough. It was tough in 2015. It was tougher in 2014. It was pretty tough in 2012 and 2013. For a decade before that it seemed pretty easy if I was to be honest. It is more difficult now to define a unique selling proposition and demonstrate value. You run into many more “unforseen” obstacles than ever before. However, this climate is now the norm and will be for many years to come. How we overcome these obstacles will define how successful we are. There is a wonderful scene in the TV show The West Wing where the Chief of Staff Leo McGarry outlines his plan for what had become a lame duck Bartlett administration. He says “if we are going to run into walls let’s run into them.” In 2015, organisations and individuals must accept that they are going to run into many walls and they must prepare themselves for the impact. Running away from these walls will see them disappear at an ever increasing rate.
- It is very important to manage performance. Yes, this is as basic as it is boring. Performance management is not “sexy”. It is not something that people get excited about. However, in an age where productivity is key and competition is high, it is remiss of any leader to ignore it. People want to know when they have done well. People need to know when they are not performing well. Clear goals combined with proper measurement has never been as important is key to drive highly engaged workforces.
- Finally, it is always important to have fun and have a laugh at yourself at work. There were times where I forgot this in 2015 and this was a massive mistake for me. Work must be enjoyable and enjoyment breeds engagement. Part of my New Year’s resolution for 2016 is to make work at Optimum more enjoyable for my team. Hopefully it aids a higher level of performance.
On behalf of the team at Optimum, I would like to wish you all a very safe and fulfilling Christmas break. I would like to thank you all for reading our Oblogs and look forward to connecting with you all again in 2016.
Brad McMahon – Managing Director