I like January. Not for the snow, sales or resolutions. I like the view.

January is like standing on the Continental Divide of the calendar. Behind you lays the past year. The January vista point gives you a necessary distance and perspective from the year’s throes and challenges. Spreading out in front of you is 2020; majestic, pristine and full of promise.

This is the moment when we can bridge the two years and find a balanced perspective on what was and what could be.

When we imagine, strategize, brainstorm or however you think about the future, inevitably thoughts turn to how 2020 will be better and how you can be better in 2020. It’s our nature.

There are many ways to capture these thoughts and ideas; mantras, one word, resolutions, new objectives. The trick is to find something that works for you, something that takes advantage of this brief window that has opened on the past and the future.

For me the thoughts and ideas boiled off into one word; effective.

I like effective. It is a human word describing productivity that is valued, advantageous and compelling. Effective relies on our very human qualities of reason, empathy, curiosity, courage and passion. I think in 2020 we all need more humanity and more of our human qualities put to work. (for more on our human qualities put to good work please see my piece on Leonardo da Vinci)

Effective feels purposeful. Effective is about making better use of what we have in people and assets. Effectiveness is renewable. It relies on our talents and skills to create value and advantage. Talents and skills that can, and should, be renewed, refreshed and rejuvenated for maximum effectiveness.

 

You may wonder why effective and not efficient? For me, it came down to fit. I think efficiency is a machine word that describes peak productivity with minimum waste and expense. Important work surely but, efficiency extracts from an organization by getting the most from an asset or individual.

I believe the success of organizations in 2020 will rely not on extraction from their organizations but from the continual renewal of their people and assets. For many organizations the struggle, and resulting success, will be in aligning effectiveness and efficiency.

The point is to take advantage of this moment in January and find something, a word, mantra or objective, that works for your organization. But, there is more. When you have your word, mantra or objective use it in three questions;

  1. How will ______ make 2020 a better year?
  2. What are we/am I prepared to do differently to achieve ________ ?
  3. How will we create the conditions for _______ to happen?

Throw open that window and take in the view of the year past and ahead of you. Find your better in the word, phrase etc. that works for you. And make 2020 a better year.