Hello 2017, it’s great to meet you

A new year is a great time to take stock, both professionally and personally and Jane McCarroll has some ambitious goals for 2017. 

At IMNZ the New Year finds us reflecting on our 70 years developing leadership and executive education in New Zealand and contemplating our future.

New beginnings are full of promise and time to take stock. There has never been a year where I haven’t wanted to improve my personal and professional outcomes and still achieve a work-life balance without compromising one for the other. It is possible but you have to work at it. 

To help me achieve business excellence in 2017 I have made 10 resolutions. I’d love to know if they resonate with you – or if there are others that have eluded me.

1) Learn to delegate more: I am a real doer and will stop at nothing to achieve the best outcomes for my clients and colleagues. Such commitment, while well meant, is not always sustainable and may lead to burnout. True, there are always so many things to do, but we don’t need to do everything ourselves. Delegation is vital to business growth and achieving work life balance.

2) Acknowledge the achievements of everyone around me: I am making it a priority to acknowledge the efforts of my colleagues and business partners. Simple acts of appreciation go such a long way to making your work place a happy one. Nobody on the planet can do everything by themselves. Be thankful to others who help you. 

3) Business planning is now a weekly event: This is vital in the dynamic, digital environment that we live and breathe. I now have weekly walking meetings with my team to take stock of what’s working, what isn’t and what we need to do to maintain campaign goals. In real time. As well as enabling us to be more agile and responsive, with the benefits of walking I can incorporate better thinking time into these meetings. If it was good enough for some of the greatest thinkers of our time, it’s good enough for me (and it’s very enjoyable).

4) Learn something new: No matter who we are or at what stage we’re at in our career there is always the opportunities to learn something new. When I think about how I could fit that in, I remind myself to delegate more. This year I am doing some IMNZ programmes on project management and investigating data analytics with our partners at Massey Business School. Lifelong learners are supported through IMNZ and I am excited to build on my skills and capability.

5) Join a new business organisation or networking group: I love meeting new people. As part of a membership organisation, I have wonderful opportunities to connect with a variety of business communities every day. I believe in networking with purpose, being visible myself and identifying who are my sponsors for business success. The strongest feedback we get at IMNZ is the opportunity for our learners to network and engage with industry peers – whether in person, online or within your local community. There are always new opportunities to learn something new from meeting someone new.

6) Give something back: I think with the two hands that I have – one is for helping me and one is for helping others. There are so many worthy causes – and working backwards from what you are able to commit to, it feels really good to help people. Make a resolution to find a cause that matters to you and give it the time that you can. I’ve done a variety of community volunteering over the years such as singing in retirement villages; Plunket, when my kids were little; and mentoring young students through the YWCA. These days I support mumsmince.co.nz – a group of volunteers who deliver home cooked meals to the city mission. I do this once a month and my kids help out too.  Leading with kindness and compassion will always work out for the best.

7) More me time: We’re no help to anyone if we’re exhausted ourselves so this year I am placing more importance on charging my own batteries so I’ve got enough energy to be the best I can be. If we don’t invest in ourselves, who will?

8) Set goals that lead to success rather than distress: Setting goals that are achievable is a key learning for me. Aiming too high from the outset will lead to frustration and a sense of failure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for aiming high, but the benefit of setting goals that are realistic and achievable feels much better in the long run. I’ve dabbled with New Year resolutions over the years, some more successful than others. Some (most) goals have been wildly ambitious – but the ones that have truly stuck are ones that have incorporated smaller changes in behaviour with room for more improvements as time goes by.

9) If it’s broken, fix it: Not everything we do is going to lead to the biggest sales success, or product outcome. And, as part of my focus on continual improvement I am always looking for the opportunity to learn from what isn’t working, as not every approach is going to give you what you need – and we learn the most from what we can do better. 

10) Breathe, and lead with mindfulness: I don’t know about you, but when the inbox is like a digital fire hydrant, the phone is ringing, and business demands keep coming in, it can lead to a very frantic mind. This isn’t helpful for anyone so I have worked on strategies to take time out (it can be as simple as a short walk around the block) to think things through and put some space between the decisions we make. Taking a few short moments out of my day to breathe deeply and calmly has made me a more mindful leader and helped me make more considered decisions.

It is so inspiring to be working with the teams at Massey Business School and IMNZ to support lifelong learners. Being better never stops and there’s always something we can learn. Always. And above all, if we lead with kindness I think we’ve got a great balance of achievement and mindfulness. Achieving a healthy work-life balance is like maintaining a good relationship. You have to keep working on it. Sometimes you’re the garden, and sometimes you’re the gardener. Wishing you every success for the coming year. Hello 2017 – it’s great to meet you.  M 


Jane McCarroll is the marketing and membership manager at IMNZ. The institute of Management NZ.Helping leaders step up and lead since 1946.


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