Rule No. 1
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Rule No. 1

New Year’s Transformation? Business Resolutions?

Every year, around this time, millions of people across the world start thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. They might start by thinking about their ideal version of themselves, noting the discrepancies between the ideal and the real, and then choosing a few things to work on in order to bridge that gap. Or maybe they have one major pain point in their lives that they target with a resolution or two. Either way, they are setting intentions for an improved future self.

But how many of us have resolved to get into better shape only to stop going to the gym come February? Personally, that’s my annual tradition.

Because let’s face it, resolving to do something is pretty easy. It’s actually doing it that takes resolve.

So why, year after year, do we make these resolutions that we know won’t really change our behavior moving forward? I think it’s because people feel good about having good intentions. We assign value to thoughts — even if they don’t become anything.

Organizations have almost the opposite problem when they think about change. While people tend to overthink and underact, organizations often underthink and overact. They decide that something needs improving, and before you know it, the company is undergoing a “transformation”. Action is taken, teams are formed, memos go out. But, strangely, just as with New Year’s resolutions, often nothing is achieved.

Because without that moment of pause, reflection, intention setting, there can’t be real positive change. Without thinking about what is amiss and what could be better, any action is baseless and will likely be ineffectual.

So it seems that the recipe for effective change is the perfect blend of intention and action. Resolution and transformation. Neither is enough on its own. If we combine the human yearning for self-actualization with the structural rigor of organizations, we’d have the best of both worlds.

For people, I guess that means not only setting positive intentions, but road mapping how to get there in a practical way. For companies, maybe that means pausing — taking time to set intentions before leaping to action.
But the real key, is approaching change from a place of awareness — of who you are, and who you want to be. This is all about purpose and values. The start of a new year is a great time to pause and take stock of what you believe, what you stand for, and the impact you want to have in the world. And to recommit, refresh, or rethink as needed.

And then, with the proper balance of intention and action, real positive change is possible.

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