It’s that time of year again: You’re going to press the leaders in your organization to deliver this year’s plan – while also insisting they design what next year will look like. Your team is entering a precarious stretch in the calendar: Because focus is everything, and distractions are everywhere, they’re at risk of failing at both plans.

The key to success it taking these 3 actions to finish strong and begin stronger as you transition between years:

1. Empower, empower, empower. Most organizations are plagued by leadership’s inability to empower decision making deeper into the workforce. At no time is this more apparent than now. It’s impossible for you to be in two years at the same time. As you shift your focus to 2017, incorporate into each leadership meeting this agenda point: “Where and how are we empowering others to deliver our 2016 plan?” Insist that each team member provide examples – then celebrate!


2. What does the business need us to focus on now – and why? If your leaders haven’t developed the habit of asking their teams this question, now is the time to create the consistency. The reason: This is the stretch on the calendar where the answer to that question can change from one meeting to the next. Unless the leader is helping the team determine its focus, they can expect a misaligned team and fractured result.


3. Create closure to reduce overwhelm. Talk to any team member on the frontline who’s demonstrating fatigue and they’ll tell you: “We’ve got too many deliverables.” It’s essential that leadership creates an energized workforce. One of the ways to do that: Make a big deal out of completed projects and initiatives. Before beginning to focus on “the next thing,” take a few minutes to check the box and celebrate with the team what they’ve accomplished. A sense of closure creates “space” for the next area of focus.

One of the best predictors for how a team will start 2017 is assessing what sort of momentum they have as they finish 2016. Momentum is determined by focus . . . and what we focus on is a choice. Take the above 3 actions to finish strong and begin stronger.

Image courtesy of wiangya at


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