Take action now to make your workplace and your personal life better. Here are five ways to move forward in 2017!

1. Show more appreciation. Sometimes we get so busy that we don’t spend time making sure the people closest to us know how important they are. Be grateful and do something about it. Make people who matter feel special.

Action: Commit to one note, text, phone call or email a day that lets those people around us know they are valued and appreciated.

Bonus: Paradoxically, we often accept feedback better from people who are not close to us. A stranger’s compliment means more than a compliment from a close friend, because we think it is unbiased. Pay a compliment in a retail environment, while walking the dog, and at the gym. Look for a way to make someone’s day.

2. More outreach. Many of our jobs depend on our networks and reaching out to clients and customers. Are you following up with the right people? Is your follow up timely and effective?  Would your clients say your follow up is timely and effective?  (That is what matters.)

Action: Schedule 15 minutes twice a week to reach out. You always do what is on your schedule, so schedule it.

Bonus: Make sure you have an app that saves you time with scheduling like,, Need more scheduling help for groups, meetings or tracking hours? Check out this article.

3. Make a good first impression. Yes, I know you always do. But does your team? Today I went to a new restaurant. After being seated, the waiter came over and I ordered a drink and an appetizer. The restaurant was fairly empty. More than 20 minutes later, he finally reappeared with the wrong appetizer and no drink. I asked for a sauce with the wrong appetizer and told him to forget the drink (he had already forgotten it, but I wanted clarity). His response was, “Oh. Okay.” No apology, no reaction. Neither the right appetizer nor the sauce ever appeared. I paid and left. The owner of this restaurant (I know him) is great and I really wanted to support his business. But his team made a poor impression.

Action: Look HARD at what your people are doing. Look at their communications, first line interactions, and initial contacts to make sure that is the right impression for your organization.

Bonus: I’ve long advocated that airline executives should call their own 1-800 numbers to try to change a reservation. Get a friend to “secret shop” your organization and then give you an honest debrief.

4. Make achievable, lasting changes. We all want to change the world, and we all need BHAG. Those can be overwhelming.  Don’t overlook the power of small, consistent changes.

Action: Resolve to make adjustments now that help your health or wealth or whatever needs a boost. These changes MUST be achievable. Setting ourselves up for failure, such as “I’ll go the gym every day” sets us up for failure, and as soon as we fail, we tend to stop the action.

I commit to one pushup a day. One pushup is attainable, even when I am traveling, and it sometimes leads to more.

Bonus: Get a accountability partner that you text every day to stay on track.

5. Say no. The only way to do the important things is to stop doing the things that don’t matter. What can we stop doing that is not important? What or whom did we spend time on last year that we can let go of for 2017?

Action: For the next week, ask, “Is this the best use of my time and energy?” If the answer is “no,” think about whether or not you really need to spend time in that activity.

Bonus: Sit down with your team and/or your family and decide together on items to eliminate from your schedule.

Super bonus: Including others gives them a stake in deciding what gets eliminated and they can discuss what they want to cut. Everyone wins!

For more information on Mary Kelly, click here.


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