The still, silent voice: Taking stock of the old year

The still, silent voice: Taking stock of the old year 1

The weather changes that herald Christmas are subtle- dry, sultry days or cold, windy days- depending on which hemisphere you are in. Workers strive to meet deadlines – no need for old work to spill into the new year- as businesses position themselves to take advantage of the festive season. This could be either by staggering their workers to take their annual leave due to low business; or increasing production of Christmas merchandise or services, depending on the particular industry the business is in. Everyone is expectant and everywhere, it is all hustle and bustle.

That said, the Christmas period affords the chance for that ‘soft, still voice’ for taking stock at the organisational or individual level. In essence, the ‘soft, still voice’ being that period of solitude when the year’s rush has come to a halt and one can clearly see the bigger pictures as the dots connect, so to speak.

At the organisational level, the Christmas period affords the opportunity to analyse the organisation at large, and in details. What worked, what didn’t- thus allowing for the formulation of new strategies and carrying forward best practices into the new year. The period also allows the organisation ample time to prepare for disruptions such as new employees coming in, old employees leaving, a change in corporate culture, and the like.

Further, the period affords the opportunity to gauge such metrics as employee satisfaction, key performance indicators, alignment of statements and actions in regards to the organisation’s vision, mission and values and other such metrics that affects the organisation’s bottom line. This can be done through detailed reports from the various departments of the organisation, via a retreat away from the office that is part fun and part work and in which everyone makes a contribution, or through a disinterested third-part agency such as a business consultant.

At the individual level, the Christmas period allows for ample time for sober self-reflection and meditation. Were the resolutions for the year met? Am I in the right career or calling? Have I been a good employer/manager/employee/father/mother/son/neighbour? In going forward, what can I do better? It is in such lucid moments as the Christmas break that answers to these questions can be found.

That said, there are certain pointers to guide you as a business or as an individual in taking stock of the old year. These pointers are also crucial in helping you make sense of the accomplishments, challenges, opportunities and resolutions as a business or as an individual as you head into the new year. In short order, they include:

Why: The why informs the overall formation of the individual or organisation. Why are we doing what we are doing as a business? Why am I on this earth? Only in answering questions of the existential satisfactorily will we find a sense of purpose in what we do as a business or in who we are as individuals. Otherwise, it may be time for change.

Growth: That which grows not withers and dies. That is true of relationships or organisations. At the individual level, growth may be the acquisition of a new skill-set, talent development or career progression. At the organisational level, growth may translate into increased productivity?

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