Your Start of the Year Leadership Checklist

This material was originally published as a post in January but I have added it to the leadership best practice area to ensure it is easily available for those joining later.

Here is a checklist for your first week back to help you get off to a great start of the new year.  Plus, this is a lot more fun than taking down those outdoor Christmas decorations or doing returns of the unwanted gifts. So before the office gets busy, use your first few weeks to get a jump on outstanding results in 2012 with this list:

1. Remember to get the things done we planned in December. You have booked time in January with your team to do the detailed planning to ensure you have the IT goals for 2012 clearly defined with the key steps to get there. Knock it out with your team.

2. Set your 1st and 2nd quarter virtualization goals for your server and storage and sit down with them and ensure they are mapping out how to get it done. Get them off to a quick start.

3. Pick one or two major contracts to renegotiate in your favor this quarter. A quick hint: Oracle missed expectations last quarter so you may have an opportunity. Remember to hold tight, put something new on the table to get the most out of a deal, and insist on your terms and conditions (and if your company does not have an up-to-date contract template, put that on the plate with your Chief Procurement Officer to get it done).

4. Take those new insights that you gained from your holiday vacation (remember you were going to spend part of your vacation time reading a good management or IT book) and ensure you bring the view to your planning meeting.

5. Review your January schedule and ensure you have time with your customers fully scheduled. Invite one of them to kick off your planning meeting.

6. Also review the planning meeting agenda with your boss and ensure you capture any ‘messages’ he/she wants to make sure come across.

7. Sit down with the intranet team and ensure they are adding 1 or 2 helpful ‘widgets’ a quarter to your intranet site. Start with a ‘How do I …’ list button or improved search tool, or a wikipedia for corporate terms and abbreviations. The little helpful things mean a lot to the productivity of your company’s employees.

8. If you don’t have BYOD yet, sit down with your client device team and review the plans to pilot and then implement it this year.

9. Schedule a visit for you and several of your team to review either a customer facing site (call center or retail store) or a key operations facility for your company. Ask questions and see how IT is working where the rubber meets the road in your firm. I am certain you will learn plenty.

10. Review and report on your performance for the past year – do it with thought and be provocative. Challenge yourself and your team where you have not delivered well. Then follow up with a high level and positive note to your entire team talking in broad strokes about the goals for the year. Strong communication at the start of the year will help ensure you and your team are lined up for success throughout the year.

Many of these items are reconnecting activities: with your business, with your customers, with your boss, and with your team. Before you start off on any major endeavor, it is critical to recheck the plan and the communication lines — that is in essence what we are doing. And with it you will be much more likely to have a successful and rewarding 2012.

All the best, and roger on those plans! Jim

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