The very year 2020 is just begging for puns and vision/clarity references. You won’t find those here, because Higher Order is all about the big picture. It’s not just a new year, it’s a fresh decade which means looking ahead is less clear. So, with the long game in mind let’s keep it simple and focus only on the most critical things that ambitious leaders need to do to set themselves up for a massive 2020 and then some. It starts by knowing that any goal you write down is a result of YOU. Your energy, ambition, focus, accountability, strength of the team supporting you and, of course, your willingness to grow your teams. Here are a few places to start:
Be a stronger individual.
Yes, take care of yourself. You know that when the plane cabin loses air pressure, you need to put on your mask before helping others, right? Same for everything else you do in life and work. Get feedback from people you trust on what you should stop doing in 2020. Then feed your brain, get more sleep and find time to get your blood pumping. Your energy will soar, ideas will flow and you’ll have the patience needed to be resilient.
Be good with 80%.
Yes, you’ll need to suppress your perfectionist voice that tells you you’re never good enough. But when you set your priorities for the year and then take stock next December, you’ll be pleasantly fulfilled when you see how much you actually accomplished. Business is a long game, so lean into the notion of “progress over perfection.”
Share your objectives and priorities with others.
Think about it: It’s natural for people to want to help each other. The more people who know where you’re headed, the more followers you have. And when the time comes to pivot or focus on something else, signal it to those closest to you so they know that you are changing focus and why. This helps everyone know what’s on your mind and lets others fill in the void you’re leaving.
Embrace “Creative Destruction.”
Dismantle yourself before someone does it for you. It may not be the popular choice, but it’s the right thing to do. This sets you up for future growth and gets you out of the rut of incrementalism. If you have nagging issues, attack them. If you see your next version super clearly, unshackle yourself and go after it.
Think about 2030 for a minute.
I’ll be 60. What will I be doing? Will I be in the agency business? Will I be alive or here at all? It gets provocative fast, so that tells me that it’s the “decade of living.” Think about it. We’ve prepared our entire lives for “what’s next.” Examine the things that consume you and ask, “Which of these can I start to give zero f’s about?” I have a few, and I’m willing to bet they won’t have any negative life impact … only positive.
My business partner recently quoted the writer Gretchen Rubin, who said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Take the control you have, make the best decisions you can and just step on the gas. Wherever that takes you will be a good distance ahead of where you sit right now.
At your service,