Labor Day (next Monday, Sept. 3) is a national holiday for most of us working in the U.S.
If you’re working on Labor Day anyway, here are five important tasks to complete that will kick off your fourth quarter and keep you ahead of the game.
1. Take a look back
What have you and the team you lead accomplished in the year thus far? Were there things done well that you’ve not yet acknowledged? Are there goals in progress with steps you can celebrate?
A look at where you’ve been compared to where you are now can result in a well-deserved pause for a great cause: recognizing progress. Take an inventory of not only the tasks, but the contributions of the team.
Consider starting the last quarter of 2012 with a review of what’s been done well. This will help renew energy and propel the team forward.
2. Examine the needs
If the team you lead hasn’t made the progress you’d like, what changes need to be made? Are there areas where training is needed? Do they require a refresher or new resources for areas that you thought were handled? Are there reminders required for rules that have gone lax?
Whatever your needs are, consider how you’ll use the remaining budget, time, and resources to finish big.
3. Fast forward
What do you want to be looking back on next year at this time? Perhaps now is a prime opportunity to review your goals and determine as the leader of this team, where you want them to go.
When developing a training program for our clients, I often use the question, “What do you want them to do differently, behave differently than, see, say, or stop doing differently than they’re doing now?” Fast forward to next year and imagine where you want to be and how it will feel when you’re there.
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4. Plan for the changes
What is likely to change in the next few weeks or months that you can plan and prepare for now? Randy Gage, author of Risky is the New Safe, said: “Reacting to change is like chasing an elephant hoping to stop it. The better maneuver is to get ahead of it and dig a hole.”
What can you do to get ahead of changes that will impact the team? Set up camp where you know the change will end up, versus gathering a search party to determine where you went off track.
5. Labor less
While it’s true that leaders often work because they love what they do, there is still a case to be made for less checking of things off the list and more of letting the brain rest.
Without a healthy dose of downtime, the reality is that you’ll see less and less come from your increasing efforts. Take time to unwind, recharge, and let go.
See where your brain takes you. Leaders who are able to take a rest are leading themselves, fully aware that this will result in leading others more effectively.