A Look at 2014


 

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“It is always wise to look ahead,
but difficult to look further than you can see.”
Winston Churchill

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Corrie ten Boom

The New Year is less than a week away.  What’s in store – what can we expect?  I don’t read tealeaves, have a crystal ball or pretend to foresee the future.  Changes are coming (and have already occurred) in health insurance and in other areas of legislation, regulation and public opinion. The world has gotten smaller and every political and economic action seems to create an immediate reaction somewhere around the globe.

Looking ahead, we know:

  • Durable Goods purchases are up 3.5%

  • Unemployment is at its lowest in five years

  • The Dollar is up

  • The Dow had a strong and unexpected rally during the short
    trading session on Christmas Eve Day

  • Home prices and sales are still strong but mortgage applications are down

What else do we know…?

  • Obamacare continues albeit with more delays and setbacks

  • The “Persuader Rule” has been pushed back (to learn more click here)

  • Limits for qualified retirement plans have been increased (to learn more click here)

  • Guidelines for HSAs (Healthcare Saving Accounts) have changed making them more flexible (to learn more click here)

  • FICA changes and higher taxable maximums will require payroll adjustments and the need to notify employees that more of their paychecks will be subject to these adjustments (to learn more click here)

And:

  • The Middle East is still unstable

  • South Sudan is considerably troubled and other countries are evacuating their nationals quickly

  • While we celebrate Christmas the astronauts will be repairing their home away from home

You don’t need me to inform you of these developments.  You can view them (as I did) by just clicking “news” on your web browser.  So where does that leave us as we approach 2014?  I haven’t a clue.  Most or all of the above could change between the time I finish writing this and you receive it.  A political or natural disaster may occur halfway across the world that could drop the Dow or cause the cost of oil to skyrocket.

My point is we don’t have as large a sphere of influence as we hope.  Many things are out of our control.  However, not all things are.  Daily we interact with each other, friends, family, coworkers, employees and customers. That is where we can have the most impact on what happens in our world.  Daily we make choices and decisions that may reflect fear, greed, selfishness or integrity, fairness and selflessness.  We get to make the choice. Those decisions based in fear create divisiveness while those made with integrity create cohesiveness.  Which type of motivation best serves your organization, community and family?

I suggest we declare the year 2014 The Year of Intentional ManagementIt would require all of us to examine the motivation for all our interactions (business and otherwise).  Setting expectations, holding folks accountable and rewarding good performance would occupy a portion of our daily attention.  That’s not to say that we ignore business decisions and the bottom line will be unimportant. It means decisions and profits will be more easily achieved in an organization where people treat each other well and hold each other accountable.

When everyone knows the plan, their part in it and is recognized for their contribution that alignment focuses everyone’s energy on reaching the goal.  These days it is what is commonly called employee engagement.  While there’s a great deal of data and research on the subject, I believe we can begin to engage workers by managing them intentionally.

Make It a Happier, More Productive New Year

In 2014 take the time to relate and manage intentionally.  Be clear in your communication, let people know what you expect and thank them for doing their jobs.  The world will continue to spin, the News will continue to inform, inflame and contradict itself but you and your people can rely on each other to work together to get the job done.

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Here to serve,

 

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John Duba

Next month:  Salvage Operations

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