Get a Head Start on Your Leadership To-Do List for 2020

Image Credit: Jamie Street

By Arvin Patel, EVP & CIPO at TiVo, Entertainment + Tech Thought Leader, Forbes Contributor

The end of the year is a good occasion for business leaders to take stock of their organizations, take a step back, and think big thoughts about the future. January 1st is coming soon; is your organization ready to hit the ground running in the New Year? What do you need to change? What new mindsets are you ready to embrace? How can you adapt your leadership and set the tone for your organization to have a massively successful new year?

Every organization has different challenges and specific concerns, but there are a few high-level concepts and Big Questions that every business leader should keep top-of-mind as we head into the New Year.

Make these questions part of your New Year’s Leadership To-Do List:

What are your biggest strategic goals for the New Year? How can you start to see progress immediately in Q1?

It’s important to get a strong start to the New Year. Take some time to re-assess your biggest goals for your team and to figure out how you can start to make progress. What are some key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’re using to evaluate progress?

Who are your top performers and what do you want them to achieve this year?

High performers can deliver massive value for your organization. Studies have found that high performers deliver 400% more productivity than average performers, but they experience the most burnout. Have you identified your high performers and high potential talent? Are you making efforts to help them avoid burnout and to get them on track for long-term retention, future promotions, and leadership roles? Consider sitting down with your top performers and mapping out a future plan for the next year. What would they like to do more of at work? What would they like to do less of? How can you give them more autonomy or more responsibility? Can you give them the flexibility to choose their projects, pair them with a mentor, or otherwise support their development while helping increase their engagement on the job?

Keep your high performers happy, and your life as a business leader will be happier too!

What’s keeping you up at night?

Every leader at every level of business occasionally has restless nights — no matter how mindful we try to be. How can you assuage your worries or set them aside? How can you address your biggest concerns proactively in the New Year? Start by…

1. Making a list — on paper — of your biggest Sleepless Night concerns.

2. Add to that a list of your various resources that can address each of these concerns. What are you lacking? Money, personnel, technology, time? How can you do a better job of mustering your available resources for each specific problem?

3. Get mentoring or coaching from other executives or ask for advice from industry peers/colleagues. Sometimes being a leader requires you to seek higher-level advice and insights from people who have previously navigated similar situations.

What are 5 key relationships that you’d like to improve this year?

Being a business leader is a unique experience, and so much of your success as a business leader is about building and managing relationships. Who are 5 people in your work life that you would like to see more often, pick their brains, network with, or ask for favors? Make a list of key vendors/suppliers, business partners, recruiters, clients, stakeholders, or anyone else who is part of your professional network who could help contribute to your success in the new year ahead. Get on their calendar for breakfast or coffee! It’s too easy to fall into a pattern of busyness and then let some of these valuable relationships fall through the cracks. People are often happier to hear from you than you might have expected.

What’s one new Big Audacious Goal to pursue in the New Year?

Beyond your immediate list of strategic goals for your business or team, what is one Big Audacious Goal that you would like to pursue for yourself this coming year? Is there a skill you’d like to get better at? A new language to learn so you can talk with international clients or colleagues? An industry conference you’d love to attend. A new marketing tactic or platform that you’d like to try? Whatever it is, use this time to dream big, and then put that dream on your radar.

Being a leader requires constant effort, even during the holidays. Leaders have to always think about what’s next and try to anticipate the new challenges and opportunities for their teams and for themselves. I hope that this list will be helpful for you. And I wish you and your team a Happy New Year!

An inventor and leading voice on #entertainment and #innovation. COO, Invention Investment Funds @Intellectual Ventures