Core Thoughts: How to End the Year Right

Our Blog

Runners In Starting Blocks

Core Thoughts is a series on my blog where I throw a question into the ring for discussion and allow my amazing colleagues and connections to answer. In this month’s Core Thoughts series, I posed the following question:

What’s one thing you do every year around this time to make sure you end the year right?


To answer your question, I think for me it would be “alignment.” Alignment with our business to end the year on the right financial footing and alignment with our leadership team and board on the next year’s strategic vision and priorities.
– Gordon Foster, CFO, Constellis

The best way to end the year right is to set goals for the coming year and communicate them to my team so we can hit the ground running for the new year.
– Irwin Golob. VP Human Resources, Avesis, Inc.

I make sure I make a non-business touch with my best donors (or customers in the for-profit arena) over the last two months of the year. People need to know you care about the relationship as much (or more) than you care about the business. I set up calls for my CEO to touch base with our best donors too and he thanks them for their past support and talks with them about personal holiday plans. We finish off those calls with vision-casting for the coming year and never ask for money. Every year this results in increased year-end giving from this contacted group and great retention of these folks in the coming year.
– Matt Panos, Chief Development Officer, Jewish Voice Ministries International

Professionally, I try to get caught up with my donors AND with any of the tedious office work I’ve left to address. If I am successful in doing those two things, then I feel much better (relieved, refreshed, focused) about beginning the new year with a relatively clean slate.
– C. J. Kupec, Major Gifts Officer, U. S. Naval Academy Foundation

It’s interesting – I always think about starting the new year right, not necessarily ending the current year right. Having said that, this is the time of year that I make charitable donations…and I use it as an opportunity to primarily give back to the schools that have helped to shape my husband and me and our careers. Not only is there a tax benefit for the year by giving back, but it feels good to recognize those who have played a part in our success, and to know that our contributions are helping the next generation pursue their passions.
– Jenn Hervy, VP Human Resources, ConnectYourCare

Life can blow by you in a blink. Each year at this time I encourage my team to reflect on their successes throughout the year and to look beyond their own team and pay tribute to the success of their colleagues. I also take a dose of my own medicine and do the same. I find this simple act brings into focus just how wonderful life can be (to quote Elton John) and breaks the cycle of “on to the next battle,” if only for this time and place. It recharges the batteries, spreads recognition, and reminds us all why we leave family and friends to engage in this wild world of work!
– Dr. Eric Barger, Chief Administration Officer, Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC)

For business, because December is a busy month with holidays, vacation, etc., we try to motivate our sales and sales support staff to make our sales goals for the month. It’s also the time of year that we express how appreciative we are of our staff and thankful for our blessings.
– Frank McQuilkin, President, Ames, Inc.

This answer is not what I do to end the year right, it is really about how to start the next year right, which allows us to end every year right. Right now, I am working with my managers to make sure they are ready for January and February. Historically, folks come back from the Christmas and New Year blitz and start the new year slow. This always puts us in a hole that is really hard to recover over the rest of the year. If I can get good January and February numbers, my end of year will be record setting.
– Francis Smyth, President & CEO, Century Engineering

Show appreciation to employees and celebrate successes. You also have to have strategic planning sessions (should be a few times during the year) to ensure you are setting the next year off on the right direction for success.
– John Townsley, VP Human Resources, Avant Healthcare

Follow up, follow through, and follow back with all my clients who have become good friends. Have an Hour of Power to make all agents accountable for their New Year now with solid goals. Lastly, create daily New Year’s resolutions instead of once a year.
– Creig Northrop. President & CEO, Northrop Realty

As for me? My business and personal life is all about relationships – so I spend a lot of time poring through my Rolodex and prioritizing and committing to staying in touch with certain people. Because business and “life” in general are more comprehensive and demanding as a business leader, it requires a persistent effort to stay in close touch with people that are important in my life. Too much time creeps by if I don’t have a strong and purposeful intent to not let that happen. So, every year around this time I am sure to recognize who is most important – jot down when I’m going to reach out – and then make sure I do just that.

As we approach the holidays, I’d love to hear from you about your goals for next year and how you plan to tackle them. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a very happy – and successful – New Year.