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Leadership Resolutions for 2016

by | Dec 31, 2015

Continuous improvement is at the heart of effective leadership and at the center of a fulfilling life. To help with the transition to a new year filled with fresh challenges and opportunities for growth — we’ve compiled a list of leadership resolutions that will help ensure 2016 is as productive and meaningful as possible. Each resolution links to an article or two we’ve posted in the past year that helps bring the lesson to life. Enjoy! (For further inspiration — check out our list of resolutions from 2015).


If you want to excel professionally, you may not get very far without caring deeply about what you do. Loving what you do makes you better at it. You spend so many of your waking hours immersed in, thinking about, or preparing for work; shouldn’t you bring a passion and drive to your work that befits the integral role it plays in your life? We think so. Here are two ways you can tell if you are doing work you truly love.


Even when faced with the toughest of circumstances, we always have a choice in how we respond. We can remain mired in excuses — or we can choose to stretch ourselves and embrace our full capability. We can rise to the challenge. We can lean in to our work with greater intensity. Here’s Doug’s heartening reminder that we have a choice in how we react to each and every circumstance.


While the climate in which business is conducted has changed radically “ the leadership challenge remains largely the same: how do we, in a principled and passionate way, derive the best results possible from other people? The toughest and most results-oriented leaders are increasingly discovering that the answer lies in building relationships. After all — leadership, distilled to its essence, is the pursuit of more productive, higher performance interactions. Here’s our guide to building better relationships to drive superb outcomes. And here is a highly effective habit for building relationships with direct reports. 


As leaders, we are often tasked with turning things around. We may be faced with a small situation that needs gentle improvement, or we may encounter an entire organization that needs dramatic transformation. Whether a small undertaking or a big one, it can seem overwhelming to manifest meaningful change. But it’s also an honor to be trusted with the job. Here are three small ways to make big change.


Research shows that highly engaged employees are 50% more likely to exceed expectations at work. The same research shows that companies with engaged employees perform better across the board. So, how do we grow the engagement necessary to build a high-performance enterprise? One important way is to value people for their work. Not gratuitously. But when a job is well done, we need to recognize that effort in earnest. Here are 4 powerful ways to value people beyond saying “thank you. And here is the pledge Doug made to value the people of Campbell at the beginning of his tenure as CEO.


Conan O’Brien is quoted as saying, “Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” His quote elegantly distills a core tenet of our leadership philosophy: the notion of an abundant approach. Abundance means tapping into the genius of the “and.” You can’t just work hard. And you can’t just be kind.  Amazing things can only happen through the magic created by both pieces “ the tough and the tender “ working together in harmony. Here’s how to do both “ and expect the same of others.


If you want to deliver exceptional performance that creates value for all stakeholders you must create a clear sense of direction. For people to perform together at a high level, they simply must know where the organization is headed and what is expected of them. As a leader, you have to clearly and succinctly answer the question, “which way?” before you can hope to show them “how high.”   Set yourself up for long-lasting success by asking yourself these three provocative questions to gauge how clear your direction is.


Pressure is often viewed as a negative force in our lives. Understandably so. Undue pressure can be an enormous cause of stress and turmoil. But each challenge also presents important questions that test our character, our approach to leadership, and our approach to life. Doug has come to view the inevitable periods of pressure that accompany leadership and life as a golden opportunity to do some of his best work when it matters most — and to engage with people in a most meaningful way. Here are 3 reasons why pressure is a privilege — and tips for rising to the occasion when the stakes are high.


We often quote the popular proverb that, “we become what we repeatedly do.” We like this idea because it speaks to the power of persistently working to develop positive habits. But more importantly, it speaks to the effect that each of our decisions has on our overall character. Who we are is made up of moments and choices. The same thing is true of leadership. Leadership does not consist of one speech we make to the board, one landmark decision, or one change initiative. It’s our behavior in the smallest of moments that forms our legacy as leaders and determines whether we triumph or fail. Here’s how to tap into the profound potential of each moment to develop consistency in life and leadership. Andhere’s how to reach your goals no matter what. 


We often think of courage in its most valorous incarnations — on the battlefield, in the grips of war, when the stakes are unspeakably high.  But even if we are not warriors who are facing battle, we need courage in our lives and our work if we hope to become exceptional in anything we care about. And, although our jobs may not always involve imminent danger, there are always people depending on us for their livelihoods, as we are depending on them for ours. We need each other. And to show up for one another in any meaningful way, we need to be courageous. Here’s our advice for leading with courage.


Leaders must constantly pursue learning and growth. That’s why we enjoy tapping a variety of sources for insights on contributing more meaningfully in our life and leadership. Here are some of our favorite resources from the past year: 
2 new books that can help you live and lead better.
3 newsletters and 1 blog you should subscribe to for expertly curated leadership content.
5 leadership books that challenge us to lead with higher ambition.
3 thought leaders whose work can help you lead more authentically.
52 quotes about trust and leadership.
Quotes that inspire greater commitment.
21 tweets that instantly inspire.

We’d love to hear from you — what are some of your leadership resolutions for the new year?

Doug Conant is remarkable—and so is this work.
– Stephen M. R. Covey
Author of The Speed of Trust

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