5 Things you MUST Do to Start the Year Right

managers resource handbook

Using a Kick Off to Bring in a New Year with Your Team


Welcome to a New Year!

The beginning of a new year marks a great time to set the next 12 month off on the right foot.  For many of us, a new year serves as the time when we recalibrate expectations of ourselves and our employees.  Between year-end activities at work and holiday time spent with family, it feels like each December goes by more quickly than the last one.  By the time we reach the year-end holiday shut down at my office, I find myself almost caught off guard because it still feels like November.

For me, though, the holidays offer a time to rest and recharge.  They are a time to catch up on sleep, to spend time with loved ones, and to simply slow down a little.  And professionally, it is the time of year when I pause and reflect.  In particular, I find myself evaluating how I did and how I can improve as a boss.  When January 1st rolls around as the last day of the break, the gears start turning again for me as I prepare to return to the office and greet my team to start the new year.

A new year offers the closest thing to a fresh start, so take advantage!  Here are the 5 things you need to do to kick the year off right for you and your employees:

1.  Recap

The only way you can effectively improve and build a strong, sustainable organization is to take time to reflect on how far your team has come, and January is the perfect time to do this.  After you’ve had the last sip of eggnog, take a little time to think about how last year ended up.  What went well? What didn’t go so well? What suprised you?  Pause, reflect and take time to think about the past 12 months.   Think about your employees, your customers and your business as a whole.  What’s in the past is in the past, but the beginning of the year is a great   time to celebrate your successes and learn from your faults.

2.  Self Reflection Of Leadership

When you sit back and think about the year that just ended, evaluate your overall performance as a team.  Did you meet your objectives?  Did you execute your responsibilities well as a leader?  Did your team hold together through thick and thin?  Are you proud or disappointed of what you accomplished?  In January, I often find myself evaluating my own performance as a leader and manager of a large organization, and even though I’m generally happy with my achievements, I always find some things I can improve upon.  Don’t wait for your boss’s performance appraisal to think about how you can improve.

RELATED: 6 Tips for Conducting Performance Reviews

3.  Identify Necessary Changes

Effective businesses and managers recognize the need to continuously evolve in order to remain relevant and competitive.   The beginning of the year marks a great time to go and make those changes, after you’ve had the opportunity to evaluate your overall performance.  Perhaps you feel it necessary to increase the frequency of your one-on-one meetings with staff to make sure things remain on track.  Or maybe you want to eliminate the need for weekly reports from your employes because you never have time to read them, and a monthly report will do.  Keep in mind that making changes does not mean you only introduce new initiatives, but also that you eliminate and remove activities that have not added value to your business or team.  Getting rid of waste is always a good thing.

4.  Establish New Goals

Effective management of an organization begins with setting goals that you and your stakeholders want to achieve.  Goals for employees and the team as a whole should follow the S.M.A.R.T. approach – Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Based.   In other words, they should be worthy of your precious time, but should be appropriately realistic in terms of what you can achieve in the next 12 months.  Equally, the goals you set need to be meaningful such that they will support your overall strategy for your team and organization over the long haul.  The biggest mistake managers make when it comes to goal setting is creating too many small, inconsequential goals, that do not effectively serve a specific purpose.  Setting unrealistic targets is irresponsible, and setting insignificant goals is wasteful.

RELATED: Are Your Goals Centralized?

5.  Renew Your Vision and Set Exectations

Once you’ve taken time to reflect, evaluate performance and any necessary changes for the new year, set up a kick off meeting with your team to share your thoughts.  Share your personal impression of the last year with your employees, both the positive and the negative.  Further, use a January kick off meeting to revisit your long-term vision for the organization moving forward. Where are you going? What do you want to see happen? What do you expect from the team?  And how do the goals you’ve set for the next 12 months fulfill and support that long-term vision?  A public setting also serves as the best time to recognize clutch performance of select employees last year, and to calibrate expectations for the year ahead.


How do you plan to improve your effectiveness as a manager this year?  Leave a comment and share with others!









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