Story Up for a New Year

The office has settled into holiday mood. By the middle of December, “out of the office” auto-replies begin. Scheduling a three-way meeting becomes complicated.

So concentrate on setting next year up right: do your own department’s thing.

Meet with Staff

Formal or informal, depending upon your role in the HR cycle, it’s time to recognize, thank, evaluate, and set new goals. Your preparation is crucial, but consider a structure that relies on open-ended questions and listening instead of talking. If you’re in the habit of gift-giving, hand over the card, token gift, or bonus check with a quick story of something this person has done particularly well.

Acknowledge Volunteers

Thank volunteers and certainly have a card or gift for each. Let each volunteer know how much you appreciate his or her generosity, adroitly inserting a relevant story. One way or another, find out each volunteer’s desires for the new year.

What goes for volunteers goes for others on whom your mission depends: clients, donors, funders, vendors, mentors, mentees – you have your own list.

Review Your Brand and Mission

Evaluating your organization’s brand and mission statement may not be your responsibility, but it is your job. Year’s end is a good time to consider three things:

  1. Do you understand and buy into your organization’s mission at the gut level?
  2. Are you and your fellow workers clear on bringing the mission into every bit of your work?
  3. Do you know your brand message, standards, and voice intimately and concretely?

Outline one good story that’s guaranteed to put a total stranger straight on what you do for a living.

Now that you’re clear on your organization, run the same three questions on yourself: you and what you’ve agreed to do for your job.

Marketing Plan Redux

Consider how well you and your team have executed the year’s marketing plan, how well defined is next year’s plan, and what out-of-the-box ideas you can generate during this time of relative peace. Assemble and use data and set aside time to noodle.

Think ahead: would your annual report project leader love to have a true tale about one of your successes?

All Systems Go?

Do the administrative systems you’re tied to work? What about your personal systems for getting work done? Do you need to toss out busy work, streamline documentation, let go of favorite work routines – or the opposite: organize tasks and schedules for the upcoming year and clear out your darn inbox?

This isn’t a story task, exactly. It’s a whole book.

Summation Reports

Every job has them. Run the reports you need to enrich company work history. They’re a different kind of story, and equally informative to insiders. Now really read the data. You may suddenly realize that you’re spending 60% of your time on something that yields 2% benefit in mission, money, and satisfaction.

Charge into the new year armed with information, plans, happy people around you, and some smashing new ideas.