Happy Half New Year!

Is anyone else having a hard time believing it's July already? It seems like 2003 just started, and now it's half over. Many of us wake up on Jan. 1 with a head full of personal and professional plans and projects. And, all too often, many of us wake up July 1 with those plans and projects a distant memory or a trailing item on a very long to-do list.

Yet we don't have to wait for Jan. 1 to roll around again to recommit to those improvement plans, especially when it comes to management and leadership. Sure, this year is half over, and perhaps your progress on your to-dos has been less than stellar. Forget the first six months, it's in the past. Instead, using a glass-half-full mindset, realize you have six whole months ahead of you to do what you planned.

While I'm sure you have a long list of things you've "been meaning to get to," here's a list of some you may not have thought of. I'm not trying to put more on your plate. Rather take a read and see if any hit home and are worth pursuing.

  • Reviews. Have you done them yet? Chances are your last set of employee reviews was in January. Do your employees know where they stand in their performance? Do you know how they like their job and what they want to get out of it for the remainder of the year? What can you and your employee do to make both sets of goals mesh?

  • Training. Many of our training budgets have been hacked off at the knees. But just because you can't fly off to some cool conference doesn't mean you should stop learning. There are plenty of less expensive local alternatives for improvement. If money's too tight, hit the local bookstore and find a title that catches your eye.
  • Vacation. When's the last time you took one? How about your staff? Are vacations even planned? You need to ensure that you and your staff avail yourself of your deserved vacation time. Everyone needs a mental and physical break from work to ensure they can continue to perform at their best. Would you let your car go for months on end without an oil change? Of course not. Don't shortchange yourself or your staff.
  • Backup plans. We covered the importance of back-up planning- and documentation- a couple of months ago, but it's so crucial it bears repeating. Do you have at least one person trained to back up each member of your staff? Are the instructions documented in case the back-up person was out, too? People go on vacation, take sick days and have emergencies. You need to ensure your department is covered so their emergency doesn't turn into one for you, too.

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