According to a study by the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, roughly forty-five (45%) of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Seventy-five (75%) maintain them for a week and sixty-four (64%) maintain their resolutions for one month. Only forty-six (46%) maintain their resolutions for more than 6 months.
As a leader influencing your local government, it’s important to set strategic goals or resolutions for yourself each year – you might call them resolutions for your City, County or Department. While you probably have a Council or Commission or Manager eager to set goals for you, it’s important to pursue a few goals you see as vital to your team’s success.
The first step is to document your resolutions in writing. People are 50% more likely to achieve a goal if it’s written down.
A Look Back: Look back on the past year and consider what you did well and what you didn’t do so well. Consider which projects and initiatives succeeded and why they succeeded. What projects floundered and why did that happen? It’s important to look back before you look forward in case there are obvious hurdles that could hurt next years’ chance for success.
Team Development Goals: Think about setting resolutions or goals with respect to the people on your team. For instance, you may want to dedicate a total of eight hours per month to support, coach or mentor those on your team. Consider this dedicated time to be with your direct reports and coach or mentor them in areas that will make them more successful.
Accountability to Resolutions: Many people make new Year's resolutions yet fail to maintain them. As a best practice, pair up with another person - a trusted friend or peer at work - to discuss and update each other on the goals you've set. The American Society of Training and Development says that you have a 65% greater chance of achieving your goal if you have an accountability partner and a 95% greater chance of completing your goal if you set an appointment to share your goal status with another person.
Work-Life Balance Goals: It’s important that you set realistic goals that support a healthy balance between your time at work and your time at home. At LeaderGov, we see far too many local government leaders spending excessive hours at the office, at council or commission meetings or at other public-facing meetings at the expense of the family and friends. Set work boundaries and talk to your elected officials or manager about your goals to have a healthy work-life balance.
Process Goals: Poor processes can waste time, create frustration and poor results. There are likely processes within your organization that need attention. What are the critical citizen-facing processes that don't work well today? You may also have process improvement resolutions around internal activities that affect your departments. Consider one or two that you want to work on with your team in the coming year.
Local Government Culture Goals: What parts of your culture do you want to improve this year and what parts of your culture do you want to emphasize this year? Perhaps there are attitudes, behaviors or habits your team displays that need to be altered next year. Make a list of those you want to affect and talk to your team about them to set specific objectives. Improving the culture of your local government can have a broad positive effect in many areas.
Citizen Engagement Goals: Having an engaged citizenry is important for your long-term success and at this time of year it’s important to consider ways to stimulate the involvement and engagement of your community in local government activities; perhaps participation on local government committees, local boards or participation in important community activities. Engaged citizens create the kind of culture you want in a community.
Once you’ve completed your resolutions, we’d encourage you to challenge your team to set their own new year resolutions.
If you want to explore leadership development for your team or your City or County staff, contact us at [email protected] or call us at 844.853.2337.