Jerry Osteryoung: New Year's Resolutions for 2014

January 10, 2014 

When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life. -- Greg Anderson

As we begin a new year, it is useful to reflect on what we accomplished last year as well as what we would like to accomplish in the year ahead. Before I talk about how you can make the most of the opportunities 2014 will bring, I want to go over one very important New Year's Resolution all businesses should make: be grateful.

We do not talk enough about gratefulness in business and management, but recognizing those who are helping you achieve your goals and being grateful is critical to your success.

Last year was tough. It was a bumpy ride as the economy finally started to turn itself around. However, we sit here today having survived another year.

Having a successful business and a productive year took the work of many hands, but we rarely think about how much we rely on other people to get the job done. I think it is important to look back on our struggles and successes and take a moment to recognize the people who got us through it.

As I prepared to board a flight last month, I started thinking about the number of people who play a role in making sure the plane takes off and lands safely. There are gate attendants, baggage handlers, flight crews, aircraft controllers, even TSA folks, maintenance personnel and the list goes on.

In an airport, many in

dividuals are working together to make sure passengers and their belongings are delivered to their destinations, but it is easy to forget about the team behind the scenes. Likewise, every business has many people who contribute to the mission -- staff, vendors, customers -- and we need to be grateful for their continuous support. True, most of these people are paid or receive some other benefit, but it is because of their efforts that your organization survives and thrives year after year.

I have taken a new job as interim president of the Dan Marino Campus in Ft. Lauderdale. Here, we train young adults who have autism or other developmental disabilities to have meaningful careers. It is a wonderful and rewarding job. It is difficult work, but our staff of 40-plus educators does a great job ensuring our students learn the skills the workplace demands. I am grateful for every one of them and their dedication to each other and to the young adults in our program.

The economy is expected to show more life in 2014, which will present us with a number of opportunities. However, as you focus on the business at hand, it is important you remind yourself to be grateful for those who are supporting you along the way. Make sure you spend a few minutes every day being grateful for all that you have. Being truly grateful gives you a sense of peace and contentment.

In addition to being grateful, all businesses should consider making the following resolutions in 2014:

1. As the economy gains strength, most firms will begin to feel increased demand. Now is a good time to expand your staff or build infrastructure that will enable you to handle the added demand.

2. Finance any expansion needs now as rates are expected to start rising. We are already seeing this in the mortgage market.

3. Take a look at your staff and make sure you have the best people you can afford on your team. Your staff is the key to your success. If you are not choosing the best, your business or organization will never be better than mediocre.

Now go out and establish realistic resolutions for 2014 and remember to be grateful!

Jerry Osteryoung, a consultant to businesses, is the Jim Moran professor of entrepreneurship (emeritus) at Florida State University. He can be reached by email at jerry.osteryoung@gmail.com.

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