Five Tips for a More Successful 2017

Whether your team didn’t meet its annual goals or your association is facing financial hardship, an HR pro shares some tips on fostering motivation and encouraging success in 2017.

It’s been a bad year for the Cleveland Browns.

Right now the NFL team is just two games from a winless season. And, if the Browns actually end the season at 0-16, they’ll be only the fifth team to do so.

No matter how you dice it, a record like that has got to be disappointing and discouraging for players, coaches—even fans.

But what if your association or team has experienced a similarly disappointing 2016?

Barbara Mitchell, a HR and management consultant, blogger for ASAE’s Association CareerHQ, and author of The Big Book of HR and The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, shared some tips on learning from your mistakes, motivating your staff, and moving toward a better 2017.

Learn the lesson. If your team hasn’t met its goals for the year, Mitchell recommends gathering the team together for a “lessons learned” session. This is where you talk about what went well, what didn’t go well, and takeaways, she said. But, according to Mitchell, missed goals shouldn’t be a surprise to managers. “I think a manager has got to adopt this [approach] throughout the year,” Mitchell said. “There shouldn’t be those surprises—like ‘Oh, my goodness we’re going to miss our financial target by a million dollars.’ That just shouldn’t happen.”

Create SMART goals. After taking an inventory of the lessons learned, managers can create new, smarter goals. In creating those goals, the SMART acronym provides a helpful guide: Goals should be specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and timely. “To me, a goal needs to be a stretch but not out of reach,” Mitchell said. “And if it is, people are just going to curl up and not do anything.”

Develop milestones. While making goals, Mitchell recommends that managers place milestones within those larger goals. “That way, on the way to your annual goal, and throughout the year, you’ve got some milestones, so people can hit some of those milestones and celebrate those as well,” she said. “Maybe the final goal comes in a little short, but you’ve kept the motivation going by acknowledging along the way that some good things have happened.”

Celebrate the small stuff. When faced with a particularly challenging or disappointing year, celebrating the small triumphs and acknowledging your employees’ hard work is important. “You don’t have to fly balloons and have a big hoopla,” Mitchell said, but she said it’s important for managers to recognize the good work that’s happening and let employees celebrate their successes for a few minutes. Saying thank you is another gesture that goes a long way in engendering good will and spurring motivation.

Bring staff into your vision. If the association experienced a hard year that resulted in layoffs, low morale is likely widespread. “Organizations usually take pretty good care of the people that leave, but they don’t think about the people that are still there,” she said. For instance, outgoing staff might get decent severance packages, while existing staff get slapped with additional work. Mitchell recommends that managers be candid and honest with existing staff.  You need to be a leader who says, “OK, we’ve had a bad year. Unfortunately we had to let some people go, but here’s what we’re going to do next year. Here’s how we’re going to pull out of it. And here’s your role in that.” Once people know where they stand in a time of transition, Mitchell says that they will often get behind the leader, even if it’s going to entail a lot of work.

Terrelle Pryor of the Cleveland Browns, a team that sits at 0-14 for the season. (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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