2020.

It is here. It is January in London and the timid winter sunshine is flowing through my office window. In the past weeks I managed, like most of us, to eat too much, hold my family close and reflect on what lies ahead. Like many of us, every year I make resolutions and then struggle to keep them. By February my “eat healthy, work less, meditate more” spirit tends to wane. 

Time to do something different.

I’m sharing a new approach with you, my readers, to abandon the fruitless tradition. During the holidays, I looked into what makes resolutions really stick. A good port of call, is Charles Duhigg‘s work. In 2016, his book Smarter, Faster, Better really inspired me to focus my team’s energy in ensuring we actively set time aside for planning, so we reflect on how we do things a lot more at Globocorp and, believe me, we are seeing the results! So I went back to him for advice. 

In the last episode of his podcast “How to”, Charles shares the most effective way to make the resolutions stick is to turn those good promises, “I will read more”, “I will eat healthy”, into an actual year plan. So “I will read more”, turns into “I will read one non-fiction book every month, and assign two hours a week in my calendar for this”. Ok, that’s a really nerdy example! But you get the gist. 

So, here’s my plan. 

What I really want to achieve this year is to improve my working relationship with our CFO, Buck Greenback. He and I have different opinions about almost everything and sometimes this gets in the way of achieving what’s best for our teams, for ourselves and for Globocorp generally. When I get Sunday night jitters, (which I still do!), it’s usually because I have to deal with some Buck-related work. And this has to stop. 

So how do I turn this vague resolution “Get along with Buck” to a plan? Here’s where I turn to my old copy of the The Trusted Advisor, by David Meister et al. I think that Buck and I don’t see eye to eye because we don’t trust each other, so I believe the key is to my trust in him and his trust in me. Here’s how I’m going to do it in 5 steps (borrowed by Meister):

  1. Engage
  2. Listen
  3. Frame
  4. Envision
  5. Commit

Our next conversation is going to be about him. I will listen actively and I hope to frame his concerns that we are spending too much on things that in his view don’t add value (our culture work, the canteen we keep, etc) into how he can help us articulate our value and we can help him bring the company along in the efficiencies exercise he has planned.

I am going to have to use a mixture of influencing styles to convey my purpose and bring him along. Thank goodness that for that I have RECIPE in my toolbox! In the end, I know that when he asks me for a newsletter he is seeing me and my team as waiters, when in reality I’m the Maitre D of this organisation. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out our types of advisers post. 

Then, because this is a plan and not a resolution, I’m going to catch up with him, once a month. I can feel it in my bones that this approach is going to work. He’s a really tough customer, so maybe this structured approach will work well. 

What about you? Any resolutions that you might want to turn into a plan? I’d love to hear from you. 

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