The new year is a time for new beginnings. It can be a refresh or a restart — but to be done correctly, it must be done with intention. As we prepare to launch into the new year, The John Maxwell Company’s Chris Goede and Perry Holley will share an effective approach that anyone can use to evaluate their year and hit the ground running next year, whether it be in their professional or personal lives.
Read the transcript below:
Welcome to the John Maxwell Company Executive Leadership Podcast where our goal is to help you increase your level of influence, increase your reputation as a leader, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to drive remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell Company facilitator and coach and I’m Chris Goede, Vice President of The John Maxwell Company. Welcome and thank you for joining.
Chris, today we’re talking about new beginnings, but doing it with intention as we look at that start of a new year. I know it’s a great time of year for most of us because it’s a restart, but you have to do that right. I love the topic — it’s an area I think most of us put could put a little more focus on and how we prepare to launch in a new year. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on that.
I think it is a terrific conversation and the topic, I think for me, some that’s been modeled for me in John. You know, I’ve known John now for almost 21 years and to see the way that he ends so strong each year, closes the year out, and then yet comes out of the gate, you know, running like crazy. The way that he’s able to do that. He’s so intentional about it. This will allow us to kind of share some of the things that you do. So whether, again, as I mentioned that you kind of wrapping up the year or even as you’re beginning the year and you’re listening to this and things that we want to be able to challenge you to do is really be intentional about that. And so I’ll tell you a little bit about the approach that John has and how he looks at it. And our CEO Mark Cole does same thing. Many of the men and women in our organization now do it, as well. And it’s really about taking his calendar and the things that he has experienced in the previous year and begin to evaluate those experiences and to look at that and to basically go through everything and say, hey, did this meeting meet my expectations? Do I need to. Whatever these questions are that we’ll talk about in a little bit. He goes through every single thing in the previous year and then takes that and develops a strategy off of what he learned to move forward into his new year. It’s a powerful experience if you think about it.
Well there’s definitely two types of people — the type that kind of lay low after the new year and kind of get off to a slow start waiting for some circumstance. I know I used to wait for quotas to come down or do I really need my quota to start working on my plan? Or do I just said excuse for me to do that kind of a shut down, slow down. Sometimes I could rest on my accomplishments. Had a great year. Let’s just cruise for a short while or kind of taking my foot off the accelerator a bit. So I really liked this approach. It is an intentional approach. That’s the second type of person, the one that starts like John out of the gate and quickly with intention to do that. I love learning more about that. So give us a little more about the specifics I could do if I wanted to have a great start to my year that way.
So not only do you need to be intentional about actually going through this exercise, one of the things that I think is key as leaders is that we’re intentional about keeping track of how we spend our time. I know that, sometimes I fall to the glory of the checkoff list and it’s not the best use of my time and I don’t even remember what I did the other day. Right? And so as leaders, you have to be intentional in both of those buckets. Once you’re intentional about that and you keep track of how you’re spending your time and you get to this place where you begin to evaluate your previous year, I’ll give you just kind of how I’ve seen John do it. I tell people all the time, John still writes his books with a yellow pad of paper and a four color pen. So he will sit down with his calendar. Okay. And it’s in a daytime calendar. You can think about what that looks like, the old kind of flipped pages, some of you may still use that. And, he literally will start with January 1 of the previous year and his notepad of paper and he’ll begin to work his way through every experience that he has had that year. Whether it’s a phone call that’s on the calendar, whether it’s a meeting, whether it’s a trip with the family, whether it’s personal, professional. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but he becomes so effective at tracking his time that when he reviews it, he knows exactly what he was talking about. And, it’s very interesting to see the things that he does from year to year and how it changes and grows because of this approach that he takes in reviewing and then setting himself up for the next year.
And I think we should encourage folks. I know when I first heard this, I go, well, like you said, there’s no way — I didn’t keep that much detail. So it’s a first great tip from this podcast is as January 1 is here, go ahead and start making intentional notes about how you spend your time. Maybe keeping it along the way. Maybe keeping a journal or you know, a spreadsheet or something that electronically maybe captures that so that I can make notes of what worked, what didn’t work along the way. But for those that don’t really have that to go with today, how would they, what tip could you give for a how to start if you don’t have that level of detail now? I’d say one of these things you’ve taught me, and we may have even talked back in the past, is a great little phrase that I use in all areas of my life, which is, you know, you call it the start, stop and continue method and so I know that he goes through, John, goes through and very detailed and if you’re not that level of detail and you don’t have that type of calendar, you still literally can begin to sit down and think about your previous year as a body of work, right? And say, what is it that I probably don’t need to do in this next year? What is it that I ought to start doing that I haven’t done that I always wanted to do and I just didn’t make myself do it, or what do I need to continue to do?
I think as you begin to begin to look through and think about your experiences, if you haven’t done a good job of kind of recording what that looks like, you can ask yourself questions and really come to the answers of what am I going to start, stop and continue doing in the next year. I love that. And the question that I started with was to be more effective. What would I need to start doing? To be more effective? What would I need to stop doing? Yeah. To be continued being effective, what do I need to continue doing? And then being honest, you can break that down into monthly, you know, have a one day, a month or an hour a month or something where you could reflect on that. I love John’s approach because it really sets a plan for the coming year. One question I wanted to ask was, you mentioned just kind of off the cuff that he does it for personal as well as professional. So he’s looking at family and balance and integration of family and personal life into the all. He’s a heavy travel guy as well, like we are. How does, how does that play out?
Yeah, so we mentioned previously, right? Balance is a tough word. John doesn’t necessarily believe in it, but what he does believe in is that when he is working, he is working and when he’s traveling for work, he’s traveling for work and when he’s dedicated to family time and when he’s traveling for family, it is family time and so he says that he’s completely out of balance and that depending on whether it’s work or whether it’s family or vacation, that he’s very structured about which one that is. And so he’s intentional about it. And too many of us I think just let life happen, right? We’re not intentional about evaluating it, we’re not intentional about scheduling it. And in order for us to kind of achieve that and as we move forward, I think you need to be intentional about looking at what that looks like and then schedule it. Y
You know, what I love about it is one in a little bit about where I’m going now in the new year, what I’m trying to accomplish. That opens up opportunities for personal development, but what do I need to be reading? What do I need to be investing in me? You can’t give what you don’t have. So if I know that this is what I’m trying to, based on what I learned from my last looking backwards, this is where I’m going forward, what do I need to be pointing to me so that I can maximize my effectiveness in my own life and maximize my impact on others. It just opens up an entire, like you said, intentionality of the year. Just my morning routine is what am I going to be reading? What am I going to be working on? What am I going to be thinking about? I’m just kind of switched that whole ball rolling in motion.
You know, I just had a thought around the personal side of things. We were talking about time with family. If you don’t have it scheduled, here’s a great opportunity. There are no longer what I would call actual pictures. Everything’s digital, right? And you could go back into your iphone right now and probably or maybe on Google photos or pictures and you could look back the previous year of experiences and it would jar things in your mind that maybe you wouldn’t want to do the next year or you’d see some things you’d be like, I want to continue doing that to your point. So I just had that thought and I want to kind of share that with you guys as an opportunity from a personal side of the things that would allow you to basically at the end of the day, be more effective and then begin to start. If you did do it this year, then man, I know in this coming year, maybe the first thing you need to start doing to your point is et’s figure out how do I begin to track what I’m doing? How am I using my time? Too many of us, we say this all the time. We don’t allow enough time in our calendar to think I’m guilty of it, you’re guilty of it and we’re in it versus thinking on it and I think it’s the same thing for both personally and professionally.
Well, I know John has a book on that and I refuse to pick it up for the longest time because who would read a book on thinking? Who would write a book on thinking? That was one of the most profound books for me, just to make me realize I should be doing more of that. Well, as we think about wrapping this up, I really, to me, I know starting strong is important and looking at I would just remind our leaders that if you’re leading a team, this was a great lesson to teach your followers to maybe ask them to reflect. Maybe that’d be a great first one on one of the year when they come in and see me. Tell me about last year. What do you need to start doing, stop doing or continue doing based on your reflection of last year as we head into the new year as you began to set expectations of them for the year and for your team and for your business. How can you get everybody on the same page about taking great lessons from reflections on that? Wrapping it up. Any final comments for our listeners?
No. I love your action item there about having that first one on one. Even you ask them to say, hey, bring your, your top two or three things that fall in each category. I think it’d be a phenomenal conversation. It would also allow you as a leader to make sure that their priorities or how they have things, prioritize in alignment with what we’re trying to achieve as an organization. And then secondly, if what we’re talking about is new and it’s something that like, man, I wish I would’ve started doing. I just want to challenge you to begin to record what your calendar looks like. Maybe every Friday you sit down here, you know, here are the 10 things and that’s how you start and then maybe the next year it’s like it goes to where John is, where he has every hour of every day right there in front of him and, and he knows exactly what he wants to change going into next year, and so if you’re not documenting that, my challenge would be to begin to.
Sure. We’ve got electronic tools for that skill or go buy a day-timer if you need to do so. That’s right. I think you can. So, thanks Chris. Great input. Just as a reminder to our listeners, if you’d like to learn more about the 5 Levels of Leadership or perhaps bring a 5 Levels workshop to your organization, please go to a JohnMaxwellCompany.com/podcasts. You can leave a comment for us there. You can ask for materials. We’d be glad to hear from you. We also welcome any questions about leadership and we’ll address them here.