Sixteen Suggestions for Success in 2016

Monday, 28 December 2015 00:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


A Brand new year is a few days ahead. As usual, people tend to have New Year resolutions. My suggestion is to go beyond resolutions, to have specific reinforcements. For that, I would like to share sixteen suggestions for success, especially with the Sri Lankan managers in mind. As usual, I have this tendency to brand them. Let me call them “sixteen suggestions for success”.


We all complain about the lack of time. There are seminars, workshops, trainings and lectures on “time management”, but we really cannot manage time. It is finite and fixed. Instead what we can do is to “manage ourselves” in getting the best out of the limited time given. The only way to do that is to be efficient in our tasks. That involves minimising wastage, reducing defects, curtailing the deviations etc. Let’s be efficient in the year 2016.

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Being efficient is not enough. We can efficiently climb a ladder placed against a wrong wall. Effectiveness is results related. It deals with the outputs and the outcomes. That’s where we need to begin with the end in mind. The mistake we make sometimes is trying to be super-duper efficient, losing track of the larger goal. Let’s be effective in the year 2016.


As we know, empathy is getting into others shoes and walking like them. In other words, having the ability to look at a problem or an issue from the other’s frame of view. Sri Lankan managers and administrators can improve vastly on this. Rather than jumping into conclusions merely looking at one side of the story, a mature broad approach of being empathic is required. Let’s be empathic in the year 2016.


We need to be “corporate athletes” in maintaining healthy mind-body balance. Energy flows out not by consuming more “energy drinks” but committing to exercise regularly. Unfortunately we see quite the contrary in the corporate world, where most of the things are remote-controlled. Finding quality time for physical exercises on a regular basis will be one sure cure for physical inactivity. Having a healthy dietary pattern, in opting to be fit than fat, is another vital need.  Let’s be energetic in the year 2016.  


Happy employees are productive employees. That’s what research says. Interestingly, that’s why some enthusiastic enterprises have resorted to measure “laughs per hour”. There are ground realities one cannot ignore. Either one has to find the work he/she loves to do, or love the work he/she has to do. Having a positive approach to work is an absolute must. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are”. Let’s be enthusiastic in the year 2016. 


“Dare to dream, dare to act, dare to fail, dare to succeed”. So goes an old saying. Everything begins with envisioning. As Walt Disney said, if you can dream it, you can deliver it. Unfortunately we see more “day dreams” in Sri Lankan workplaces, especially after lunch. The need of the hour is to be more growth-oriented in terms of working towards long term goals. Let’s envision in the year 2016. 


We need to enhance our knowledge and skills. With the internet as a vast ocean of knowledge offering a variety of informal learning approaches, learning has become a part and parcel of our lives. Unfortunately, we visit internet to find “figures” instead of “facts and figures”.  Sharpening ourselves with cutting-edge knowledge is an absolute must in facing competition. As Socrates said a long time ago, we learn from “the womb to the tomb”.  Let’s enhance ourselves in the year 2016.


Employee engagement has already become a buzz word in the business circles. It captures the essence of employees’ head, hands and heart involvement in work. It refers to employee’s psychological state (e.g. one’s identification with the organisation), his/her disposition (e.g. one’s positive feeling towards the organisation) and performance (e.g. one’s level of discretionary effort). In brief, it captures affective (feeling), cognitive (thinking) and behavioural (acting) dimensions of an employee. We need to engage more in order to excel. Let’s engage more in the year 2016.


This is essentially about being creative, in thinking “out of the box.” It reminds me of what our veteran writer Kumaratunga Munidasa said a long time ago. “A nation without innovation will not prosper, but will lie lamenting, being unable to beg”.  Innovation has paved way for many a country to succeed in becoming globally competitive.  Where are we with regard to innovation? How many new patents do Sri Lankans register annually? Nanotechnology can be sited as one promising area where innovation has begun to yield dividends. Let’s explore in the year 2016.


As Lao Tsu said a long time ago, great leaders are “leader breeders.”  Such a transformation can only be possible through empowerment. It involves, on the one hand, delegation, assigning tasks to others to handle, whilst being accountable. On the other hand, it involves development. The fundamental mistake we make is to simple delegate tasks without developing the team. Let’s empower in the year 2016.


This is all about continuation. We start things with a big bang and discontinue half-way through. Sustainability has become a critical factor in the midst of business failures. Chaotic weather patterns across the globe are a grim reminder that eco-friendly practices of work need a lot more attention. What matters are not only profits and people, but the planet as well. Let’s endure in the year 2016. 


In a rapidly changing well-connected world, we need to embrace best practices, and perhaps the “next” practices. Take recruitment for an example. Rather than having an interview by a panel of senior members who have no idea about what real interviewing is all about, the time has come to move towards professionalism. There are new techniques to conduct behavioural interviews. Required competencies to a job against actual competencies of a candidate can be accessed through a well-designed assessment centre. The starting point is to acknowledge the need to change in appropriately adapting the new practices. Let’s embrace more in 2016. 


This is a broad term capturing the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual facets of life. We need enrichment in a balanced manner on all above fronts. Sadly but surely, what we see in the world is quite the contrary. There is imbalance with the mad rush for material acquisition. As I saw in a poster somewhere, “we gain wealth by sacrificing our health and we regain health by spending our wealth.” Let’s enrich more in 2016. 


It refers to get involve totally, with complete participation. It differs from engagement to the extent where you need to be holistic and be willing to capture the fullness of a situation. Half-hearted, half-baked approaches with shabbily completing tasks are the quite opposites. The Asian term, mindfulness aptly captures what you need to do fully in living in the moment. Let’s engross more in meaningful activities in 2016. 


This is the subtlest aspect of all. It deals with practicing the values. The numerous stories we heard ranging from global credit crunch to Golden Key chaos, call for the need of ethicality. It is not achieving short-term gains “either by hook or by crook” but something much deeper, grounded on solid principles. Ethics is difficult to define in a precise way. In a general sense, ethics is the code of moral principles and values that governs the behavour of a person or a group with respect to what is right or what is wrong. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, says the golden rule of ethics. Let’s emancipate in 2016.


Excellence is all about being exceptionally good. When applied to enterprises, it involves exceptional achievements in a consistent manner. For that to happen, employees have to excel as well. In doing so, they would demonstrate productive practices. Let’s excel in many fronts in 2016.

”Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” So said Aristotle a long time ago, which has much relevance for today and tomorrow. 

The dawn of 2016 offers us another opportunity to have a fresh look at our lives. Embracing the sixteen suggestions for success will ensure the exceeding of expectations, leading to excellence. May the 2016 will be a year of excellence for you as an individual, as an interactive team member, as well as an institutional employee.

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