What Are Your Professional Resolutions for 2012?

The new year is just around the corner and so are everyone's new year's resolutions. While many of us are already starting to line up the usual suspects—exercise, lay off the junk food, call mom more often, watch less TV, maybe even volunteer—a few of us are also thinking about professional resolutions.

One consultant told us, "My new year's resolution for business in 2012 is to bring even greater innovative thinking and creative solutions to our clients." Another consultant stated simply: "I want to keep my clients happy." When we asked Theresa McKinney, STAR BASE Consulting's newest Senior Account Executive, for her thoughts on professional resolutions in 2012, here is what she shared:

Much like goal-setting, professional resolutions should be specific and whenever possible, an everyday practice. In the BusinessWeek blog post "Leaders: Time to Select Your New Year's Resolutions for 2012," Eric Jacobsen shares an impressive list of 70 resolutions. Here are my five favorite from the list—and why:

1. Communicate clearly and often
The absence of communication is an open invitation to misinterpretation or, worse yet, derailed timelines, budgets and projects. Communicating clearly and often produces the delightful effect of not only showing that you are on top of everything, but also of making everyone you are working with feel the same way by virtue of being informed and in the loop.

2. View every problem as an opportunity to grow
I truly believe that a mistake is only a mistake if you don't learn from it. It's a simple but powerful logic: If you walk away from a situation where something "went wrong" with new insight into a process, you win—even if it cost you a temporary setback. What's important is that the setback is only temporary. Meanwhile, the growth you and your team experience is something you will build on indefinitely.

3. Listen carefully and don't multi-task
More and more, multi-tasking is being debunked as a valuable practice. In attempting to do five things at once, not one of them receives the attention or care it needs to be done well. Cultivate good, honest listening skills and knock one task out of the park at a time. And then go knock another one out of the park. At the end of the day, three homeruns are worth more than 20 base runs that never made it to home plate.

4. Don't delay tough conversations
The sooner you let someone in on a potential situation, the better your chances are of getting them onboard with the solution. A solid heads-up will dispel any notions that they were being kept in the dark about the matter, which brokers the trust you will need to ultimately get to a good resolution (given the circumstances at hand).

5. Say "thank you" and sincerely mean it
Take the time to acknowledge a task well done or to appreciate support generously given. Whenever possible, do it in person. If not in person, try to do it over the phone. Email and text messages—as with any electronic communication—are the least personable, but are better than nothing. Be specific about what you are thanking your associate for and the impact it created for you or the project. Remember, it is as motivating and rewarding to receive thanks about the big things as the little things.




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