You had some good momentum going toward the end of the year. But as the Holidays began to approach, you got increasingly put off with “call me after the Holidays,” or “I’ll be out of town ‘til after the first of the year.” Projects you’ve been working on all year have been put on hold. You yourself have taken a break and may have lost track of where you were with this person and that project. This time of year can be downright frustrating and confusing!
The new year seems to favor new projects. Who wants to go back and rehash old ones? You might say, “Hey, if they didn’t get closed by year end, it seems futile to resurrect them now.” We have faced this “holiday” problem for years. And yes, it’s always better to finish out your initiatives before the end of the year. We all feel the pressure to do so. But with so many other folks trying to complete their projects at the same time, the competition itself can put a drag on completion and cause you to miss that all important “holiday” deadline.
Here are some ways we have found to save the day and remove a little of the pressure, guilt, and frustration the Holidays can bring:
- Calendar. Check your calendar for any meetings you may have had in October, November, and December. Re-acquaint yourself with the attendees, the goals for those meetings and the follow ups you and others have committed to. Reschedule with those folks for follow-ups now.
- Call Log. A quick review of your call log will remind you of the conversations you had at year end. You will be able to quickly identify the ones that you still need to bring to a conclusion. Make a list and prioritize.
- Email. We like to review our sent items, the ones that have yet to respond, or the ones where we were the last message in the chain. Schedule some time to piggy back on those sent items, include the chain of correspondence, and resume the discussion.
- Make Appointments. After reviewing you calendars, calls and emails, and setting priorities, reach out early to set up appointments even if they are a month away. Just knowing you have taken action will relieve your anxiety.
- Set Deadlines. Try to get all of last quarter’s business completed, cleared, or resolved by the end of the first quarter of the new year. You’ve done most of the ground work already in the fourth quarter, so why not capitalize on that “head start” in the new year?
Remember, January looks like a long month on the calendar, but consider that New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Day holidays take a bite out of January’s work weeks. Consider also that many use January to take a winter vacation. So, get going and set reasonable deadlines for yourself – and others! Pick up where you left off, keep your eye on the ball, and see some early home runs in the new year! It’s time to follow up or foul up. Happy New Year to you all!
Who We Are.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
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