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With Christmas too far away to mention (damn!) and September already in the past, it seems a void opens up every year during this same period, only to be filled by our collective stresses which multiply as each week passes. For those that have their year-end in December, it signals a time to get heads-down and make a final push. Your focus and intent trained on whatever particular goals you might have whilst, at the same time, being busy wondering how the hell the end of Q3 came and went so quickly & how can you make sure that your team stays focused on the goals set as you approach the last few months.

When the going gets tough. The tough get prepared.

Going gung-ho at your business for 9 months flat can leave even the best of us feeling a bit, well, tired…. As a business leader however, you not only have to overcome your own feelings of lethargy in the face of relentless and competing business needs, but also try to buoy everyone else up in the team so that 2015 will truly be a corker.

Deep breath then and try out these tips to help keep things pushing on through:

  1. Create your own soundtrack…There’s not a person I know who isn’t uplifted by music and while there are few who would admit to (or want to be) standing in front of the mirror miming to the opening song from ‘Rocky’ hairbrush-in-hand, creating a playlist of the songs which you find most uplifting (Spotify should come in handy here) is a great way to get the inspirational juices flowing. Better still, let the team take over the speakers at the office: nothing like a bit of light banter over who has the best track to stoke them.
  2. Update and share progress on those business goals you spent so much time on and communicate, communicate, communicate your progress. You’ve no doubt spent some considerable time this year assessing what needs to be focused on to be more successful and if you haven’t updated progress on them or made them crystal clear to your teams, do so now so they know how they’re doing. Hold a stand-up meeting, corner them over the tea maker, take them out to lunch, send that email or preferably do all of the above to help reinforce the messages you need them to hear. Success with a new client? Tell them. New product to launch? Tell them. Motivation and energy are infectious, so channel your inner Huffington/Branson/Gold or Jobs and just go for it.
  3. Be clear about what exactly you expect of individuals for the rest of the year and communicate communicate, communicate this too. Some companies use systems such as KAPTA to track individual goals alongside company and team goals, some just use a pen and paper and some just meet regularly to discuss them. There’s no perfect way but if you’re not trying out at least one of the above, then start now.
  4. Praise Be: Use the carrot not the stick to generate improved performance. It’s proven that if you praise behaviour, you are more likely to see it repeated. With criticism, there is no such data. Optimum is 5 bits of praise to every 1 bit of criticism.
  5. Figure out what barriers there are to getting things done and what support you need (warning: shameless plug…): No person can do everything, so be proactive. If you want your teams to be more effective, or are planning on increasing/changing the structure of your team, then talk to us about how we can help you achieve this.
  6. Paint a picture. Not an actual picture. But instil hope in the team about what things will look like when that piece of software has been released, or when that client signs the deal or when the process is working smoothly. It’s proven to improve performance.
  7. Look after no.1 and meditate. Yes, seriously. Those who know me well would be surprised that I even know what the word means, but so many competing priorities can be overwhelming at times and research proves just ten minutes mediation per day can yield results of improved mental health and less stress. Sign up for a free trial of at Headspace. It’s simple to follow, plus you get to watch the faces of your fellow commuters as they try to work out just what the heck you are doing…..

Photo Credit: 42-1552965 by meridican