new year resolutions

Let me express a bias. I like PwC and have always found the company efficient and easy to do business with.  In the 1970’s, Larry Senn coined the phrase: ‘An organization is a shadow of its leader’ and the Managing Partner, Ronan Murphy, role models the courtesy and professionalism of the PwC crew.

I have to play up to them (a bit) because last week I attended their Business Leaders Conference. It got off to a shaky start. Is it just me or do you find economics boring? The economist Jim Power had more slides than an alpine ski instructor. My suspicion is that he is a ‘graph-a-holic’ and we were subjected to death by histogram. Listening to all that macro stuff in the darkened auditorium, I began to fantasise. What if an Economist and an Actuary met at the conference and subsequently had a child?  Would it be a candidate for the worlds most boring baby?

Hot Topics:
We moved onto a section labeled ‘Hot Topics in Accounting’. Now that seemed a tad over-promised as we ran through the detailed new accounting rules.  This was followed by a truly brilliant presentation on international changes in taxation rules. Overall, the conference in the National Convention Centre was very polished, even if some of the subject matter was difficult for me to grasp. But people from the financial world were able to soak up a host of changes in easily digestible chunks. The conference set a high bar for all of us in the service industry with the key question: ‘What have you done for your customers lately?’ (sending an invoice doesn’t count).

Good News:
We’ve ‘rounded the bend’ and the recession is officially over.  While demand is still somewhat anaemic, there are real green shoots emerging. For example, Ireland created 33,800 new jobs in the past 12 months and we are moving towards some stability in the housing market with pockets of growth.  As the good news spilled forth, a warm glow enveloped the audience. Who doesn’t want to cling to hope? And the psychology of hope is essentially a view that the future will be brighter and better and somewhat easier. But, here’s the kicker. You need to do something to make this happen; things don’t normally get better on their own.

2014 Resolutions:
So, how will your future be better? To keep it simple why not take an ABC approach?

A is for Action:
Taking action on the key business issues faced should be your #1 task. Regardless of how difficult or socially awkward those issues are. Identify the shark issues and go hunting. The trick is to pick 2 or 3 issues (not 23) and move the needle forward.  Denial is not a strategy.

B is for Building:
You already have a lot of skills. That’s what got you onto the pitch. But skills get tired and outdated.  In my own case I’m completing a post graduate diploma on executive coaching. While I’ve been in the coaching game for 20+ years and even wrote a book on it, I’m surprised about how many alternative approaches exist and learning a ton of new stuff courtesy of some robust feedback. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s certainly developmental.  The more you know, the more you know you don’t know! Sharpen that saw.

C is for Change: 
Let me make an assumption here. You are already clever.  At least normally clever e.g. an IQ of 100+ but more likely you are in the executive range with an IQ of 120-130. So, are you using that cleverness to create a happy life? Because if you are clever but aren’t happy then you are not using your intelligence wisely. Make 2014 ‘The Year of Me’ – by identifying and working on those broader life issues which you need to get sorted.

Often the best ideas are simple. See if you can weave those ABC ideas into your planning for 2014.



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