W&WP January 2002
10 New Year's Resolutions for Better Management
By Tom Dossenbach
Yes, it's that time of the year again when we feel duty bound to make New Year's resolutions. Some of us have already made at least a few: lose 20 pounds; cut 5 strokes off our golf game; spend more time with the family - you get the idea. Resolutions are always based on something that will be beneficial to us. If we make and keep them, we can actually achieve a great feeling of accomplishment.
What about making New Year's resolutions as a woodworking manager, not just in your personal life? Have you gotten around to that? It is already late January and some people have not even considered setting goals for their professional careers. Instead they are concerned just about day-to-day problems that always seem to consume their time.
I have always believed that it is very important to set personal and professional goals at the beginning of a new year. They give you something to shoot for - something with which to gauge success for the year. Everyone needs goals to help accomplish those things that are important to them. Manufacturers in the wood products industry need managers and supervisors who want to excel personally as well as professionally. These are the ones who will lead the company through the demanding times we face this year.
I am presenting 10 New Year's resolutions on these pages for your consideration. Adopt some or all of them and replace as many as you wish with some of your own. Hopefully, this article's resolutions will motivate you to make at least five of your own that are important to you both personally and professionally.
1. Resolve to take care of your health.
2. Set goals for personal development.
Managers who like themselves will be happier and more productive at work. Find something you can focus on this year to give you personal satisfaction.
3. Listen more.
If you want to be a better son, daughter, husband, wife or manager, you need to listen a majority of the time. Spend more time walking the factory floor and listening to your employees. You will be surprised how much more they know about making store fixtures or increasing lumber yield than you think. When in a meeting with a group, assume everyone else has a better perspective than you and listen to him or her.
4. Become a mentor.
Find someone you believe has potential, but has been overlooked, and mentor him or her this year. This person may or may not be an associate at work. In any event, show that you believe in the person and want them to reach their potential. You can make a difference in someone's life if you only take the time.
5. Set a professional goal.
Have you considered taking a supervisory management course at the local technical college? Have you asked if the company would support your doing that?
Set at least one goal to further your professional career this year. You could be a much more valuable asset to the company if you do.
6. Take daily challenges as daily opportunities.
You should make a resolution to get excited in a positive way about problems. That's right - enthusiastically excited! If there were no challenges, would your job be necessary? Then, why are you so uptight when you are called upon to do your job? Problem solving can be fun if you turn it into an opportunity to teach others and yourself.
7. Look for waste.
No matter what position you hold in the company, you can look for waste and lead the way to eliminate it.
8. Start continuous improvement this year.
One of the more serious mistakes a company can make is to wait too long to begin the process. If you don't have the authority to start a company-wide program or are unable to motivate others to do so, begin in your own department. Combine this effort with #7 above. You may get something started that will spread throughout the organization.
9. Hold an employee family event.
10. Resolve to laugh more.
January is almost over - make your own list and have a great year!
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.