Planning for the Unplannable

Another year has flown by and here we are at the end of 2015. I hope that the year met or exceeded your expectations and you can look back with satisfaction on your accomplishments.

But now is the season to think of the year ahead….your resolutions….your aspirations….your goals. If you’re a planner, you’ve probably already mapped out 2016 to guide your way. Even if planning isn’t your style, you’ve probably thought about what you want to accomplish.

I want to take a moment on the subject of how to plan for the unplannable. Many clients and friends finished 2015 punctuated by unexpected activities. If you’re not prepared, you can spend considerable time stumbling while you figure out how to manage these situations.

Holiday Gratitude

I hope by the end of today you will be settling into a three-day weekend where you can kick back and downshift a bit. My observation is that this was one of the busiest months of December in recent memory, so you deserve a breather.

Since we’re going into a holiday weekend, I thought I’d share some holiday-related musings about gratitude.

Remember to acknowledge gratitude for your staff and wish them a great holiday (and – oops! – if you forgot this, it’s not too late to do something as simple as send an email). Simply put, people appreciate being appreciated.

Random Acts of Kindness

CBS Sunday Morning featured a story on “Secret Santa”, an anonymous businessman who gives away $100,000 in $100 bills every Christmas. The story (which has aired in previous years as well) is especially touching because it demonstrates how he lifts the spirits of people he randomly touches.

Random acts of kindness are unplanned good deeds that are extended without the expectation of anything in return. When you offer a random act of kindness, you feel good and the recipient feels good….the classic “win-win” scenario.

Most of us don’t have the means to give away as much as the aforementioned Secret Santa, but we do have the ability to give small, ordinary things. When you offer a kindness to someone, it can even help to put your own challenges into better perspective.

Overcoming Holiday Tension

At we edge towards the end of 2015, the annual recurrence of holiday tension has arrived. December brings too many deadlines, more holiday parties than you want to imagine, and greater than usual personal commitments.

The result? More stress, more tension, and more anxiety which creep into the fabric of many organizations. What to do? Consider these tips to manage through the next few weeks.

Deadline madness. Of course, some year-end deadlines are real, but others are placeholders (“we need to complete this by the end of the year”….not really). Don’t contribute to the stress by adding false deadlines.

The Entitlement Quandary

One of the more interesting challenges in today’s workplace is dealing with the issue of entitlement. It has crept in around the edges of virtually all companies, and once it arrives, it’s hard to eradicate.

This issue exists across all generations, but it seems to bubble up more often among Millennials. Many have been told how wonderful they are for so long that they can’t understand why their employers don’t believe it.

It’s easy to deal with entitlement when the employee isn’t performing; you reassign them to other jobs or you fire them. That’s relatively easy, and your downside is limited.