2018 business resolutions from some of Madison’s top execs

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be broken. We offer tips for keeping your business resolutions, alongside the resolutions of our Execs of the Year.

If there’s one truth to New Year’s resolutions, it’s that they’re often broken. Maybe that’s not such a big deal if your resolution is to cut back on coffee (who would want to do that?) but backtracking on a resolution to lose weight or quit smoking could have more serious implications.

The same goes for business resolutions. Not making necessary improvements to your operation because of the time or money it might take could set business back years — or drive you out of business completely.

However, the American Psychological Association offers some easy steps to take to stick to your resolution in 2018 — or at least give yourself and your business a fighting chance:

  • Start small. Make resolutions that you think you can keep. Maybe you can’t double your staff this year, but you can probably add one new employee to an area of your business that you’ve been giving short shrift to lately. Similarly, a new job might not be in the cards but give yourself a fresh start with the current one by cleaning your workspace and bringing in some new decorations.
  • Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Turning over a portion of your workforce all at once to get rid of bad seeds might be impractical, but you can at least re-write your hiring practices to give yourself a better chance of only hiring the right people from now on.
  • Talk about it. Share your experiences with co-workers and other business colleagues. By involving your staff in the planning and implementation of any business changes you resolve to make, you’re ensuring everyone’s not only invested in the business’ success, but also that you have support if (when) problems arise.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Perfection is unattainable in business and in life. Setbacks are completely normal. You can’t control every situation, but you can control how you react. Perseverance is the key to success.
  • Ask for support. Accepting help from the people in your business circle strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking help from your peers. There’s a professional out there who’s walked in your shoes at one point or another, and who can offer practical, first-hand advice for how to move forward while avoiding pitfalls.

IB recently asked our 2018 Executive of the Year award winners for their business and personal resolutions for the New Year. These are some of their answers.

Joe Pleshek, CEO and president, Terso Solutions Inc.

Business: Terso is growing rapidly and we are adding many new employees. In addition, we are moving our production group into a larger facility about two miles away from our corporate headquarters. My resolution is to spend more time out of my office and out of meetings talking to employees individually and in small groups. I plan to reserve some time on my calendar each week to just walk around and check in on the Terso team.

Personal: I hope to improve my diet, which has been a constant work in process. Staying away from the Cheetos will be a good first step!

Heather Longhenry, CFO, Settlers bank

Business: Encourage career growth for my direct reports. By using technology that was brought on in 2017 to improve efficiencies, I plan to have more time to directly interact with my employees to get them cross trained on my role. Not only does this help the company by developing a succession plan, but it also helps develop my reports by strengthening their knowledge in banking. And it gives me a sense of relief in knowing someone else knows my job.

Personal: Achieve a more balanced work and home life. With advancements in technology come pros and cons. Convenience comes with a price. It puts work — via e-mail and other communication — literally in your hands. My goal is to put down the phone and focus on my home life and personal wellbeing when I am away from work.

Rajan Sheth, CEO and chairman of the board, Mead & Hunt Inc.

Business/personal: Growing up in India, I did not know anyone who made a resolution for the New Year. That tradition did not exist. When I came to the U.S. and people started asking about New Year’s resolutions, I resolved to make no resolution — ever. I am living up to that resolution every year, including this one.

Cliff Mason, president, TASC

Business: Spend less time reading and writing emails, and spend more time face-to-face with managers and thought leaders in the organization. Schedule quarterly stay-cations at work, and then use that time in my office to catch up and have quiet reflective time. Meet with every new 2018 employee. At TASC, that was 222 new employees in 2017. Personally conduct privilege-user security training. If I’m going to train, I want to know this subject inside and out.

Personal: Change all my passwords and secure them in a password vault. Personal password security is a must for 2018 and beyond. Contact old friends. Time goes by too quickly, and it’s been too long since I’ve been in touch with some dear friends. Spend a day with my oldest living relative, and ask important questions about my family while I still have the opportunity. Take at least one “bucket list” trip this year.

Paul Hoffmann, president and CEO, Monona Bank

Business: My business resolutions are to have more strategic planning sessions with key players and to be more deliberate about organizing my day. Too often my days are consumed with doing things and responding to issues, and not enough planning for the long term. I would also like to organize my days a little better so I can be more efficient. Responding to emails all day long just eats up too much thinking time and isn’t very productive.

Personal: My personal resolutions are to re-establish a workout routine and make time for doing things I enjoy. With too many commitments last year I didn’t make enough time to exercise, golf, ski, and garden. Some things had to give and usually it was those activities. Oh, and I should probably find time to call my family more often, especially my mother. E-mails and posts just don’t quite mean as much as actually talking to someone does.

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