Part 1: Planning and Delivering Professionalism!
A good start into the new year is a reliable indicator of someone who is professional and organized or has office administrators and managers with such qualities. The baseline is the way you ended your previous year. This is often taken for granted. We are too much in a hurry to go on holidays at the end of the year, forgetting that the way we end the year forms the baseline for the beginning into the new year. This is not to mean that going on holidays is of less importance, no! The best way of ending your year, before you go on holidays, is to produce your plan for the following year, together with your office administrators and managers. So, how did you end your 2018? Did that become the baseline for your 2019? To what extent did your office administrators and managers help you achieve this state?
To end your year with the following one in mind requires that you take the reviewing of the current year serious. This is irrespective of the process being subjective or objective. The main point is that you reflect on the year before ending it, and make that the foundation on which to plan for the new year. I will refer to this as the transition period between the two years and the activity in this period as transition management. We do not manage this well because of the tendency to disengage and rush on to holidays.
Looking ahead into the new year must be as factual as possible. That means we must have scenarios based on reliable data. The economists, futurists and scenario planners provide reliable research papers we may use. Some organizations like business schools, research institutes, banks, and insurance companies hold briefing sessions and seminars on trends . Our own experiences could come in handy as well.
Sometimes forward looking could simply be predictions based on general public reporting. International broadcasting organizations like CNN, Bloomberg, Sky, Al Jazeera, BBC, CNBC, CGTN, RT, DW, etc. covers economic, political, technological, climate, and social trends. At personal professional level these trends are of no value if they are not taken into consideration in planing our activities ahead.
Above quantitative projections, one must also take sentiments from the broader public into consideration. Take necessary actions. Any plan without action is as good as having no plan. The data, information, scenarios, and trends, as stated earlier, inform our plans for the new year. Hopefully in putting together these plans you were inclusive, and involved your office administrators and managers. They are crucial in reducing the plans to professional schedules and calendar entires during your Implementation stages. That becomes your daily guide in performing your professional duties.
NB: This brings me to the topic of this blog, namely, PLANNING AND DELIVERING PROFESSIONALISM - Through Your Office Administrators & Managers! Your office administrators and managers may, in your view, be ordinary and less strategic. But, one thing for sure, without them you are not able to be professional in your conduct.
The moment your personal and professional plans are incorporated into your overall organization year commitments and business plans, they become the property of your administrators and managers. You now have a comprehensive annual programme of action (incorporating both your personal and professional year plans). A true professional trusts office administrators and managers with his/her personal and professional year plans. They ought to have been trained on principles like confidentiality and ethical practice. They know exactly how to conduct themselves in delivering support for personal commitments, and professional activities. By personal we do not mean intimate private activities. We refer to non-business activities that are important for your well being.
Be aware that as a member of a bigger internal and external world, you will often find that there are other developments that will compete with your plans. These competing interests must be managed. The acceptable principle is that if you have made prior commitments that involve others, you must adhere to such commitments, otherwise you risk losing the trust of your stakeholders. You may be slowly eroding your personal brand unaware. Avoid that as much as possible.
The issues of work life balance must be seriously taken into consideration. If your business activities include local and international traveling, you should consider building your holidays along such travels. This requires conversation with your loved ones, and may be complicated by their own annual business plans. If they have also developed a culture of planning ahead, this may be easy to handle. If not, your own plans may appear to be imposed on them. Be sensitive about this as you may appear to be selfish and prescriptive. The best practice would be to encourage the practice of planning to them.
I hope that I have inspired and challenged you to think deeply about planning your annual personal and professional activities.