New Year, Fresh Start: Go Into 2018 With A Clean Slate


When the clock hit midnight on Dec. 31, rolling over to the new year, you can bet everyone was making plans. The resolutions started to stack up: lose that pesky 10 pounds; eat more fruits and vegetables; spend more time with the family.

And when it comes to your business, I know you have a list of goals for 2018, too. But before you start tackling your to-do list for the new year, take a minute to take stock of the year we just said goodbye to. How did your budgeting go for 2017? Did you gain any big clients that you wanted to bring onboard? How is your staff performing? What is your relationship like with your upper management?

Sometimes it’s hard to take a close look at what’s not working, but as Phil Harwood of Pro-Motion Consulting reminded us, facing the confrontations is often necessary to move forward. If there’s a fear of conflict, it can cause you to hold back your own opinion or fail to ask others for their input. “Debates are OK,” Harwood says. “It serves the team to promote discussion.”

We’ve all been in those meetings where we seem to go around and around, not addressing the root cause of the issue, and progress isn’t made. “The best place for a team is to be at constructive discussion without stepping over the line too much into destructive,” Harwood says. “But it’s OK to overstep sometimes and recover — you’ll build a stronger team if you cross over and recover and have the courage to be on that line.”

No one likes having the tough conversations or being perceived as the bad guy, but often employees respect when the boss addresses an issue head-on, instead of letting it fester.

So start off 2018 with a clean slate. Examine what worked and what didn’t work last year, and let those lessons create progress in the new year.

Editor’s note: This was article was originally published in January 2017 and has been updated for accuracy.