Kevin Eikenberry

Article Summary:

How to avoid losing productivity during the holiday season.

How to Stay Focused During the Holiday Season

It's that time of year again.

Shopping, parties and long lines everywhere. More vacations, more family commitments, and more stress. These are a few of the challenges we all face during the holiday season. The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, and we will enjoy them more as leaders when we learn how to help our organization revel both in the season and their results.

Following are some suggestions to keep the focus and results high as the bells ring louder and the shopping days disappear. Rather than avoiding the challenges or denying the distractions the season offers, ESCAPE the problems by applying the suggestions below.

Expect good results.
As a leader, one of your responsibilities is to set clear expectations and goals for others. However successful you have been at communicating and gaining understanding on these expectations, the holidays require some additional expectation setting. Give people a sense of where they are on their annual goals, and encourage them to finish the year strong. As you set and reinforce these expectations, remember to give people the support and resources they need to succeed.

Share spirit.
While some people have a bit of a cynical, stressed out, scrooge attitude towards the holidays, most find their spirits lifted and thoughtfulness is at an annual high. Encourage people to show their spirit and sense of goodwill when communicating with others inside the organization. Even more importantly, encourage those sales people, Customer Service professionals and others who communicate with Customers to use that holiday good cheer in their interactions. Customers will notice and everyone wins.

Celebrate!
You probably have a holiday party at a restaurant or hotel, which is great. But consider doing an on-site workday event too. There are many options -"Secret Santa", a white elephant gift exchange, or daily afternoon holiday snack break with different people bringing things each day are just three suggestions. A little time spent here can help bond teams and focus them on their work for the rest of the day. (Hint - let people who are interested in these kinds of events plan them - don't delegate it to the unwilling or overworked because it won't have the same results.)

Acknowledge the challenges and distractions.
Let people know that you realize the holidays are a tough time of year to stay focused. Share your shopping and social calendar with them, so they understand that you feel the seasonal stress that they feel too. When people know you understand their situation, you gain credibility when talking about expectations and year end goals.

Present positive anticipation for the New Year.
Give people something to look forward to. Get them excited about a target or project that will make a real difference early in the New Year. Giving people this forward focus will help the focus now, but will really help people past the doldrums that can come after January 1.

Engage outside your organization.
Take the lead by organizing a group to lead a toy campaign, contribute to a food drive, or better yet, do something as a team in the community. Your group will feel proud of their efforts, pleased that their organization supported and encouraged the activity, and the team will improve their relationships which has a long term impact on team health and productivity.

These suggestions individually can help you navigate the holiday season more effectively. Taken together, however, they will help you ESCAPE the pitfalls and make December a valuable and productive close to the year and a jump start to the new one.

Kevin Eikenberry is an expert in converting organizational, team and individual potential into desired results, and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group. He is the two-time best selling author of "Vantagepoints On Learning And Life" and "Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time." Kevin has spent the last 15 years helping organizations all across North America reach their potential. His specialties include: teams and teamwork, creativity, developing organizational and individual potential, facilitation, training trainers, presentation skills, consulting and the consulting process and more. He offers monthly tele-seminars through a program called the Remarkable Leadership Learning System. Kevin can be reached at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER and through his website, www.kevineikenberry.com.

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