This is the time of year people when typically set resolutions for those habits they want to improve on. Lose weight, improve finances and exercise more are the most common for Americans, according to a Harris poll. I suggest we take this one step further and not just describe what you want to do, but define what you want to become.
2014 will be a great opportunity to regain a footing in the emerging economy. Here are four suggestions to help you become a better leader in the modern economy.
Become more curious
Now is the perfect time to step out of old routines and explore the “what if I tried this” approach. Technology is causing all of us to consider mixing things up. Use this as an opportunity to look at the entire business and simply get curious on trying new things. Slice your target markets narrower; offer specific banking products for specific demographics of customers. Now is a great time to learn about how it’s going to be in this industry, as opposed to focusing on how it has been. Being more curious is how you can discover gold.
Become a failure
That’s right, I said we should fail. Why? Because if we hit the bull’s-eye every time, we are standing too close to the target. For the last 6 years we have been striving for safety and security in the financial industry, and it was needed. But now the time is right as the economy is solidly emerging to try some new things that those on the cutting edge are already making work successfully for their organization. Do trials and beta tests work right the first time every time? No, and this is how we grow from our failures, if we are paying attention and look at them as opportunities to learn as opposed to opportunities to blame. Failing repeatedly is how you can perfect a process.
Become a better communicator
Every one of us, no matter what position we hold or how many education degrees we have, can learn to communicate better. From motivating employees, to dealing with upset customers, to being a great listener, communication skill improvement is an opportunity to improve your business and interaction with people. In the age of technological communications, I would argue that text messages, conference calls, email messages and voice mail have actually hindered communication compared to a time before these options existed. In the overwhelming tidal wave information age we live in, how we communicate information is critical to achieving understanding and connection. Think there is room for improvement? Watch young people sit together at a restaurant. More often than not they are working on their phones rather than having a face to face conversation. Communication skills are being replaced by information exchange, and those are two dramatically different entities.
Become a better you
So often I hear people make proclamations of how they are going to improve a fault they have, or try to be something they truly aren’t in an effort to improve themselves. For 99 percent of us that is wasted effort without longevity of commitment. Instead of trying to vastly improve your weaknesses, why not focus on improving your strengths? In other words, why not focus on becoming a better you? When we focus on our strengths, we focus on those things we do well and find easier to improve on. That’s not to say throw in the towel on weaknesses and never make any effort to correct them. However, when you focus on the best part of you to improve, the part that is successful, it’s a much more productive use of your time and effort.
Make 2014 a time to develop the best you that you can become.