How to hit your targets in 2020
By Ellie Duncan 7 January 2020
Huge quantities of food and drink have been consumed, decorations have been packed away, and
before most people know it they are back at their desks, trying to remember what they were working
on before the festive break.
For many, going back to work in January can be harder than returning to the office after a holiday at
other times of the year – it sometimes feels like there has been no real down time and there is little to
look forward to.
Despite this, the new year often heralds the start of plenty of good intentions for smarter working and
setting sights even higher. But seeing these intentions through or failing to live up to ambitions and
targets can leave individuals feeling dispirited.
So, how to make new year resolutions helpful to asset managers and their teams?
Erica Wolfe-Murray, business coach and author, says line managers should use team resolutions to
boost morale at what can be a challenging and even difficult time of year for some people.
“We all know how long and dark those first few weeks of the new year appear after Christmas’s
twinkling lights, partying and celebrations. But keeping everyone’s eye on the game is crucial.”
She adds: “As everyone is rested after the holiday break, take some team time to nail your ambitions
for the year.”
Ms Wolfe-Murray says asset managers may want to include work targets, but also consider what other
ideas team members have to help drive success.
“Map these out on a resolutions chart, with key steps along the way and responsibilities for actions,
linked to rewards,” she adds.
“We all know how short lived resolutions can be, so you need to bake your additional ambitions into
regular team activity for the months ahead.”
She notes that innovation is often seen as someone else’s responsibility and that “one of the best
resolutions you can have is to encourage each member to come up with innovative ideas”.
Ms Wolfe-Murray says: “It could be a simple contract clause adaptation, a new sector development,
angle on a market. Innovations can be small, internal shifts, so don’t overlook these.”
Claire Dale and Patricia Peyton, authors of the book Physical Intelligence, point out that resolutions on
their own “are not a motivator”. It is when they become a shared experience that team members can
motivate each other.
Ms Peyton says: “If the intention is to make work-related resolutions, keep in mind that motivation is
improved when we are aligned with our values and core purpose, doing the work that puts us in our
element, and using our strengths to the fullest.
“Becoming more conscious of such deep motivations makes it more likely that we will persevere.”
Ms Dale adds: “As with motivation, making resolutions alone won’t boost morale but making
resolutions, sharing them with each other and cheering each other on as you work towards your goals
together will motivate you all to achieve your goals.
“And the camaraderie that generates will create a stronger sense of team that will boost morale.”
Ms Peyton suggests the types of resolutions that work best are the ones that are “clear and realistic”.
It is important to picture your resolution, “whether [it] is to climb Mount Everest, allocate extra time
each week to analysing market movements, or dropping two stone”, she says.
“Studies suggest that visualisation of goals not only helps ensure success, it also creates pace. If we
don’t picture our goal, it will not feel as real and we’ll be more easily distracted from achieving it.”
Fund professionals should also set themselves for success by being “realistic”.
Ms Dale says: “Visualise a reasonable, achievable goal and interim milestones to get you there.
“If your initial milestone is too overwhelming or challenging, quickly identify a new, more achievable
Jane Durston, a wellbeing consultant who specialises in preventing stress and burnout, notes that
resolutions are often set around what people want to accomplish after Christmas – weight loss being
the most common one.
But she warns: “Resolutions, generally, are unrealistic in terms of the goals and require varying
amounts of time, money and motivation.”
In other words, individuals are often setting themselves up to fail.
She says an approach similar to the one suggested by Ms Dale and Ms Peyton can help individuals to
stick to their resolutions.
“Exploring instead how you want to feel, both physically and emotionally, when you lose weight [for
example] sets you up for lasting lifestyle changes, rather than a sprint, which you will lose,” Ms Durston
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