Seize the RE’S: A New Year’s Exercise

The end of the year is the most common time for individuals, leaders, and teams to step back and reflect on what has been achieved, what could have gone better, and how best to set up for success in the coming year.

As leaders, we must be brave enough to experiment and test new concepts. To test ourselves in new ways. Ask ourselves why we believe what we believe. And never stop asking these questions.

We get so ingrained in our habits, and sometimes, we go so far down the path filled with bad habits that we find ourselves doing something for years that either isn’t important or completely against our values. This can lead to stress, illness, depression, discontent, a feeling of being off balance.

When this happens, it is time to reignite what lies within you.  I urge you to explore the “RE’s”. Without revisiting, we may lose ourselves. We may not be prepared when disaster hits and we may inadvertently cause more harm than good for our teams and ourselves.

Exactly what are the RE’s?

RE-engineerExplore another way of doing something you have done for years. Map out your workflows, look for gaps, areas that are not working as smoothly as they can be.

TIP: Ask interns and new hires and other departments.  Their fresh eyes may yield missed opportunities, a new perspective, and reveal ways to save time and money.

REeducate …Yourself on the numbers, the competition, the latest data. The speed of new information coming into the world requires you to broaden what you thought you knew yesterday…and often.  Set monthly time in your diary to do this.

TIP: Change up your sources of information, find and follow new experts, attend a conference, listen to podcasts, take an online class.

REveal…Your mistakes, your flaws, your moments of awe, the highs and the lows.  Keep things real as not being real takes up an awful lot of energy.  Being vulnerable is one of the most important leadership traits, people need to see that you’ve failed and what you’ve learned from it and what’s amazed you and why.

TIP: Start small.  Share a story of a mistake you made and what you learned from it, an experience that made you say wow and the emotions you felt in each experience.

REview…Your beliefs.  Ask yourself why you believe what you believe.  Is it time to shift this belief based on a new experience, fresh data or recent exploration?  Consider reviewing your team vision, values and goals.

TIP: If your team values are simply a poster on the wall, and your vision does not roll off the tongues of your team it is time for a review. Ask yourself and your team if you believe you can reach your goals? Is your team operating the best that they can? Are you creating space for your team to thrive and deliver maximum value?

REorganize…Your resources, your team, your space.  Liken a reorganization to when you rearrange your closet or when you redesign your living room to create a more open space.

TIP: Get visual.  Map out your team on a board using images, attributions, numbers, etc.  Create A, B, and C scenarios to show what a reorg of any of these things will look like.  Share.  Gain insights. Shift and shuffle again.

RExamine…Your approach, priorities, strategy, structure, mindset beliefs.  When you are not getting your desired results there is likely something that needs to be reevaluated.  This may take a bit of time and energy to uncover.

TIP: Write your ideal state on the top of a page.  Make three columns. In the 1st one, list of all the reasons that may be a barrier to reaching that ideal state.  In the 2nd column, write each barrier in a positive and opposite statement. In the 3rd column, write a present tense action of something you are doing in the future to act on the positive statement.

REunite…With people you’ve forgotten or ‘Busyness’ may mean you have lost touch with people that might actually help you perform better or elevate you as leader.

TIP: Reunite with an old colleague, a mentor, a friend who motivates you.  Send a handwritten note, a LinkedIn invite, an industry insight etc.

Construct new REalities…By using “what if there are no barriers” speculation to enable stretch thinking. This is a chance for your imagination to run wild, to explore new possibilities, and to broaden your view on what could be.

TIP: Write down something you are feeling stuck on and the variables linked to this project or initiative.   Ask: What if you made it larger?  What if you slowed it down?  What if you put it in pictures? What if you put it to music?  What if a teacher/doctor/farmer/etc. took the lead?  What would they do first?

REassure…Your team, colleagues, clients, and stakeholders that you are all on the right track, that you will meet deadlines in place (if you will), that they can trust you to surface anything that may get in the way of success.

TIP: Consider what the people in your world need most.  Everyone is different.  Some may need a plan of action, some may need some data and evidence, some may need a story, some may want to see the big picture or an image of the end result.

Surviving and thriving today starts with being present, being aware, being curious and interested. That requires asking yourself questions and taking time to answer them.

So, get ready, get set, and get going.  There is no time like the present to seize the RE’s.