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Three Things CEOs Should Keep in Mind at the Start of the New Year

CEOs don’t have a “New Year’s Resolution”

A New Year’s resolution marks the start of a more fulfilling and accomplishment-filled year. People take out their pens and papers—or open a new document on their laptops—and create a list of the positive changes they want to make this year.

A CEO’s approach to New Year’s is different. A CEO doesn’t wait until New Year’s for a fresh start or to finally push the company forward. Improving company processes and long-term strategy is a continuous process that happens over the course of the business’s lifespan and one that should be reviewed on a regular basis.

And so for CEOs, other c-suite executives, and business owners, the start of the year is more of a list of “New Year’s Reminders” rather than a “New Year’s Resolution.”

 

“New Year Reminders” for CEOs and business owners who want to up their game

Do something, now

Is there anything you’ve been wanting to do but have been putting off for a while? Do it. Are you interested in starting a project that you think might help the business move forward? Then start with that right away.

Perfectionism and the fear of failure can stop you from moving your company forward and exploring its full potential. To put your mind at ease, a McKinsey research shows that CEOs who make bold moves earlier are more likely to outperform those who do them later on in the year.

When you’re taking immediate action and daring to do so, you’re thinking less about the possible worst-case scenarios and more about getting to where you want your company to be. It’s suddenly less about failing and more about grabbing every opportunity that can help you get closer to your company’s vision.

So, instead of mulling over the possible risks in the name of taking a “calculated decision,” think about if taking the bold move in question will help you get you to your end-goal, and if the answer is “yes,” then gather your team, your board of directors, and get on with the task of executing it.

 

Set a big, outrageous goal

Dare to think boldly and outrageously. Your goals, whether long-term or short-term, should definitely be serving the greater purpose, which is your company’s vision. And this can lead to many CEOs being reluctant to set any goals that sound or look intimidating or involve a lot of risk-taking.

If your goal or strategy isn’t making you uncomfortable, then it isn’t doing your company’s vision justice. Big, outrageous, bold goals should make you uncomfortable and scared, otherwise, you aren’t even making a dent in your company.

Forget about “looking bad” in front of your peers, stakeholders, and team members, and think about gaining the courage to go against the grain of your organization. Courage is a skill, not a trait you inherit, and it comes from allowing yourself to take risks and set insane goals that will help your company move forward.

 

Work on mental resiliency

Being a leader is about being at peace with the uncertainty, stress, and uncomfortableness that comes with the job. It’s about learning to be fine with the setbacks you might face as you try to fulfill company goals. And lastly, it’s about looking at every one of your failures—or future ones—as learning opportunities and a chance to build a more solid and stronger foundation for your company.

You can start by reframing your idea of “success” and “winning” by accepting the idea that getting to where you want to be will involve a certain degree of risk-taking, and possibly even a few failures here and there. And don’t think about your setbacks as “failures,” but rather as opportunities for learning, growth, and improvement.

Leaders serve as a model for their team members who look to their leaders as guides and mentors. When you’re taking big risks, setting outrageous goals, and taking immediate action towards those outrageous goals, your team members will start adopting your leadership style and working on becoming more mentally resilient themselves.

 

The takeaway? Stay active.

The process of creating value is an ongoing one, and not a one-time, annual endeavor. Excellent CEOs and business owners are constantly reviewing their strategies, revisit their long-term “Why?” dare to think boldly, and take immediate action.

This year, focus on looking fear in the eye and accepting that it’s there, and it’s going to be there every time you set a more challenging goal for your company. Create a mindset shift, and change it into one that is more forward-looking and risk-taking.

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