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What don't you want following you in 2010?

Congratulations! You survived 2009. Without question, 2009 was a scary and challenging year. Other than the government, everyone put a lid on spending and took a meat cleaver to trim expenses. Businesses and consumers alike shifted into "find the best deal" mode. Clearly, the final days of 2009 are ending on a more optimistic note than the gloom and doom this time last year. So, take a deep breath. 2009 is almost in the history books.

It's delightful how a new year inspires feelings of hope. But creating a wonderful 2010 means that you must make some big decisions and back them up with your commitment to go the distance.

So the question I pose to you in this Monday Morning Wake-Up is, what are the problems, frustrations, behaviors, issues and situations that you don't want following you into 2010? What are you going to do about it?

Here are some thoughts based on the Four Business Outcomes that I wrote about in my No-Compromise Leadership book:

  • Productivity: Where did your company misfire in the area of productivity? Did your team heed your "sense of urgency" call and rise to overcome challenges? Did you even make your "sense of urgency" call? What productivity challenges and inconsistencies still exist today that you don't want following you into 2010?

  • Profitability: Is profitability a fond memory or your current reality? Hey, everyone struggled with profit in 2009, but adjustments should have been made and beginning to show positive results. If your financial picture is causing you stress - do something about it now. Pick up the phone, call Strategies, and ask for help. Financial issues will consume your energy and beat you down if you don't take decisive action.

  • Staff Retention: Employees quit leaders - not companies. Disgruntled employees, drama, resentment, entitlement and indifference are all signs that your culture has been infected by compromise - and compromise originates at the leadership level. Are you clearly defining expectations? Do your employees know where the finish line is and their role to get it there? "Do more," isn't a clearly defined goal. Are employees allowed to be active and engaged participants in growing the company? Do double standards exist in your company? All-inclusive cultures attract and keep the best employees.

  • Customer Loyalty: As the economy emerges from recession, it brings with it a pervasive "I want a deal" business and consumer mentality. As a result, your company's customer loyalty factor is being put to the test. Fail to deliver value - even after slashing prices - and your customers will defect to your competitors. To survive and thrive in the post-recession economy, you need to redefine what "rolling out the red carpet" means at your company. From now on, "exceeding expectations" is no more than a ticket to play the business game.

If you want 2010 to be a breakthrough year, leave all the stuff you don't want in 2009. Make the mother of all New Year's commitments to lead a no-compromise company.

Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.

Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO and author of No-Compromise Leadership


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