With a new year comes new resolutions. Are you thinking of one or two? I am.

I think of resolutions as goals. And the Wikipedia definition of a New Year’s Resolution is pretty much described as a personal goal. That’s dandy except that resolutions are notorious for being broken as quickly as they’re made. Why?

Well, my theory is that too many resolutions are made at once. And that while the personal desire to change exists when we declare a resolution, many of the other supporting pieces that are needed to achieve success are not in place.

Some things to think about that apply both to goals and resolutions:

1. What’s the desired outcome? Looking at the big picture, how will you know you’ve succeeded?

2. Why this goal/resolution? Why is this important to you right now, this coming year? If you can’t answer these questions with a convincing argument, don’t bother with the resolution.

3. Use the SMART goals acronym.

SMART is used when setting goals because good goals have the following characteristics –

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

4. Do you have the right support? Goals are achieved when supported. Same goes for resolutions. Do you have the time or will you make the time to succeed? Are the folks around you supportive? Do you have the resources to accomplish your goal/resolution? And if not, can you find the resources?

I’m off to think about my resolution for the year.

Happy New Year!

Communities of Purpose


Above is a Masai Tribe – they’re one of the most widely known and conflict-free tribal groups in Africa, in part because of their relatively smooth assimilation with modern African society and culture despite being semi-nomadic.

What can we learn from them? Effective managers build ‘communities of purpose’. They find ‘tribes’ of like-minded folks. They nurture and build a culture to drive to their desired goal. And they figure out how their unique community’s goals and purpose fit into the bigger corporate picture.

Here are 5 Tips for Growing Changemaking Communities in your Company.


Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) restrooms
These pictures make me smile. And then they make me think. These are from the airport bathrooms at Jacksonville International Airport (JAX).

One of the key things that helps leaders lead is to recognize that people come in all shapes and sizes. We’re not all the same stick figure.

Even more- beyond the physical shapes and sizes, people come with differences that aren’t always apparent at first. Like:

  • How open are they to new ideas?
  • Do they like being with lots of people or not?
  • How scheduled do they like things to be or not?
  • Do they like to focus on one thing at a time or to multitask?
  • Do the feelings and approval of others matter much in a decision?
  • How open to change are they?
  • How much stress can they tolerate?
  • How do they like to receive and process information?

How much you understand about yourself strongly influences how you lead. The way that we like to communicate and deal with others is reflective of our own preferences, not of others. But to be best heard, effective  leaders must take into account the preferences of many.

Tools like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), DiSC, Enneagram, The Big Five (FFM), and other personality profiles help you become more aware of your preferred style, and how your style affects others.

Are you Listening?

ListeningOftentimes, people say they want to communicate better.  What I have found is that they mean they want their communications output to be clearer – written, spoken, presented, or otherwise.  But when I hear this, I look to their listening skills first.

If you agree with the adage ‘garbage in, garbage out’,  listening is the most important component of communication.  It’s the input part of communication and you’re unlikely to produce good communication output without considering your inputs.

There are a few different levels of listening to consider:

1 – I hear your words, but I’m thinking about how they affect me and how I’ll remember and respond.

2 – I hear your words and I’m aware of your body language, tone, and the context of the communication, and will respond taking into account all those factors.  I ask questions.

3 – All of level 2, plus, I’m aware of you, and I’m aware of additional context and history.  I am clarifying and summarizing what I hear to get even closer to what you’re saying. My goal is to understand.

There are certainly reasons to be in each level.  But the key differences are important to consider when building relationships and trust.