My clients and I use the phrase “Pop a cork!” as a cue to stop and celebrate. Why? Becausesharing a toast does two things; it recognizes progress and potential. It says, “Wow,something great happened, and here's a toast to having more of it!”
That's the kind of energy we need to keep us moving all year long, so don't save yourcelebrations for the beginning of 2016, find a reason to pop a cork (real or virtual) at least oncea month.
We're reminded, during the holidays, of how much we have to be grateful for. Expressinggratitude can be a powerful exercise in business as well. Take stock of all the things you haveto be grateful for in your professional life. All the people you've connected with, all theexperience you've accumulated, all the clients you've served. Guess what you've done. You'veinventoried your resources. And you've probably uncovered a few that are undeveloped;people you've neglected, talents and skills you haven't leveraged, testimonials you haven'tasked for. Develop those resources, and you'll have more reasons to say “Pop a cork” and evenmore to be grateful for the next time you take stock.
3. Sending cards.
Right now it's probably easy to remember the last time you received a physical card, with astamp and a handwritten address. But by March you'll probably have to think back threemonths to remember how it felt knowing someone took the time to think of you.
If it's true for you it's probably true for some people who are important to your business. Theymay be prospects you haven't worked with yet, referral sources you haven't talked to for awhile, or even ex-employees who've gone on to bigger things but might be your best source oftalent and clients if you keep the relationship fresh. Anyone who showed up on your gratitudeinventory should probably go on your “just because” greeting card list.
4. Giving gifts.
Do you know when you'll find the most sugar in your dentist's office? You got it, betweenThanksgiving and New Year's. That's because general dentists refer business to dentalspecialists. So every year they get an avalanche of gifts from the practices who have receivedtheir referrals. And, as ironic as it may be, most of those gifts are sweets.
Gifts are sweet any time of year. In fact, they're even sweeter when they aren't anticipated, orexpected. You don't have to give big gifts, it might just mean spending a little extra time with aclient or making a small contribution to a cause you know an employee holds dear. It's morethan the thought that counts, but it's the thought that counts the most in building meaningfulrelationships with your referral partners, prospects, employees and friends of the business.
Not the drink until dawn kind of parties. With the exception of a few industries, those probablywon't do much for your reputation. But during the holidays we take more time to reconnect,see people we haven't seen for a while, and hang out with no agenda except catching up orgetting to know each other a little better. Anyone can put together a networking event, the realkey to building business relationships by hosting get-togethers is to let go of the agendas andsimply connect.
Each year as we say “goodbye” to the old and “hello” to the new, many of us have made apractice of reflecting on the year past. But in business we usually go straight into analysismode. What a SWOTT analysis of the business won't tell us is our own strengths,weaknesses, opportunities, threats and trends. Yet, the greatest strengths and opportunities,as well as the greatest weaknesses and threats, aren't going to be found in looking atoperations, or profit margins, or sales funnels or market trends. You'll only become aware ofthem by looking at leadership. And that begins with you.
Most people have “failed” on their New Year's resolutions so many times they've given up onmaking them. That's because most people don't really make sure they have the resolve to dowhat they say they're going to do. Even more people don't realize that resolving isn't a onetimeactivity, it's a daily practice that becomes easier with repitition. Keep resolving, on New Year'sDay and the 364 days that follow, and you're likely to find a lot of your problems resolved bythis time next year.