CEOs Resolve to Make 2012 a Fruitful Year. What Have YOU Resolved?

“My resolution is to add to the infrastructure of my company.” “Change behavior, not people. Change process, not standards. Change results, not goals.” “Drive more client intimacy.” “Spend more time in the office with my staff working on the culture, the next steps, and the strategic plan for getting there.” “Continue searching for opportunities to help and to give.”

These are just a few of the 2012 New Year’s resolutions gathered from CEOs around the U.S..From companies with just a handful of people to those employing thousands, these leaders represent a mindset not often heard through traditional media.

These are the leaders of free enterprise, and they are planning to do what they have always done when faced with hard times — focus, build momentum, and succeed. Their thoughts are included in a new report, CEO Resolutions for the New Year: A Focus on the Future” written by me and published in December, 2011 by Northwood University.

Some CEO resolutions for 2012

Having produced a similar report two years ago, I was interested to know if the noise of the new media accurately reflected the thoughts and plans of business leaders.

Of course, one can argue that 50 CEOs, as included in the report, are not even close to a representative sample of all business leaders. While this is true, it is also true that these CEOs, whether large or small, for profit or non-profit, publicly-traded or privately held, responded with thoughts that were amazingly consistent.

For example, one of the most consistent themes in this year’s resolutions was the idea that business needed to avoid letting technology take the place of being “human.” John Poisson, CEO of gift- buying site Wantful.com said, “I think we’ve gone too far down a path of constant reliance on technology as proxy for staying in touch and sharing with people who matter most to us. Somewhere along the way, we pushed aside our instinct to communicate personally and thoughtfully.”

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Ian Siegel, CEO of ZipRecruiter also pointed out that, “…there is a tendency, as businesses grow, to introduce efficiency systems that often move the customer further away from a real person they can talk to.” He goes on to resolve that he and his company will stick with the personal touch they provide, even if it means smaller margins.

Are your personal resolutions different?

Many of the CEOs pledged even greater personal support of their community, like Tony Hsieh of Zappos, who will be spending less time traveling and more time working with the Downtown Project his company supports in its ongoing goal to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas, Zappos’ homebase. Rob Basso of Advantage Payroll and Basso on Business said, I’d like to give more time, not just financial assistance, to charity…it’s important to remember how fortunate we are.”

I think all leaders should pause for a moment right about now and decide what their PERSONAL resolution will be for 2012. We expect our leaders to have two things: A plan for the future and the courage to implement the plan.

The examples in the report show leaders who are willing to take accountability and make things happen next year. I personally believe that’s the way out of the economic malaise, and I hope most leaders are committed to the same kinds of actions for 2012.

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