Back to School – New Term, New Ideas.

September has a new term feel to it, even for those of us whose children have long since flown the nest. It is a time of change, as summer gives way to autumn and we all begin to re-focus on what needs to be done to hit this years’ objectives and achieve this years’ goals. It is tempting to work harder at what has worked well so far this year, doing more of the same, especially if it is successful, is just so easy to do. But beware, this is the fuel that drives the operational treadmill and can stop your mind considering new approaches and new ideas. September is a great time to entertain some new thoughts and re-connect with any reflections you have done on your summer holidays – see Summertime some questions for Leaders to ponder – and here are some suggestions of things you can do that might help inject some new thinking into the run up to year end.

Reconnect with Purpose As questions go Why is so much more powerful than Who, What and When, don’t you think?  As the new term begins it is a good time to dust down your Vision and Mission statement and re-connect with why you do what you do. In my article Visions, Missions and all that Jazz I reflected on the importance of having a compelling purpose, one that transcends the minutia of day-to-day activity and can act as a source of inspiration to get you through the inevitable noise and dross that accompanies so much of day-to-day living these days. September is a time to revisit this and ensure it is fit for the future.

Tempus Fugit - time to stop doing good work

Revalue your timeIt is a fact that we are given 168 hours in each week, there will come a week when this is not the case, but until then 168 is a pretty reliable number. How we chose to use this time is a great question to address as the new term begins. This question naturally follows ‘purpose’, as absent a clear purpose then it is impossible to prioritise tasks that compete for your time and lack of prioritisation is the single biggest reason why we squander our most precious resource. A close look at where you actually spend time and the gap between what you plan to do and what you actually do can be very cathartic at this time of year. The biggest challenge here is habit breaking and for some clues on how to do this take a look at my article on Time v Money the Pursuit of Real Wealth.  

Review your Relationships It has been said that we progressively become the average of the ten people we spend the most time with in our lives. Is it time to broaden your circle of friends and lift the bar in this area of your life? For those relationships that are part of your day to day interactions maybe it is time to shine a light on the value of the interactions you have with your key relationships. What should you do more of, do less of, start doing and stop doing in the conversations you have with them? If you’re after a new perspective then spend at least some time with 8 to 10 year old children, they have a refreshingly open, unbiased and delightfully naïve view of the world that can give us a refreshing insight and reminder of how we used to feel and think when we were their age too!


Reflect and Rejoice – What has happened so far this year that has really impressed you, that you know you, or others, have done well and that you should rightly be proud of? This is a chance to focus on the positives and break free from the relentless problem solving and troubleshooting mind-set that is so often the prevailing paradigm in far too many organisations What can you do to celebrate success in a thoughtful and meaningful way that sends a positive message out to individuals in the organisation. Think of the impact a well deserved ‘Thank You’ has and the positive energy that flows from this, remember you get what you give, so give this some real thought and act now.

Enjoy the new term!