The year is still young. Set your business priorities now

New Year’s resolutions are a common way to set goals for a year. Unfortunately, they’re seldom achieved. Back in 2007, a University of Hertfordshire study found that 88% of people who made New Year’s resolutions failed to achieve them, and there is no reason to believe the situation has improved.

If you make the shift to reconsidering your priorities, however, you’re more likely to see results—especially in times of uncertainty. An unachieved resolution creates a sense of failure; focussing on priorities, in contrast, helps you to remember what’s truly important whilst allowing for flexibility.

It seems likely there is another difficult year ahead politically and economically. In our experience, mid-market businesses can still enjoy stability and growth if they focus on some or all of these priorities.

Your employees

This is not an issue to consider occasionally; it should be a priority you revisit regularly. Because research shows that lack of job satisfaction is one the main reasons people leave their jobs. Replacing people is more difficult than ever, so in 2023 prioritise job satisfaction issues before they become…an issue. Here is what to focus on:

First, job satisfaction can be significantly boosted by providing efficient, easy-to-use systems and processes. Automating energy-sapping and repetitive jobs allows your best people to spend more time on things that matter and to enjoy their work more. It’s not something that can be done overnight; it’s a process in and of itself. For guidance, see our CEO’s briefing on creating an IT strategy for growth. See also our report, Do you actually need an ERP project?

Second, consider whether your people would favour more hybrid working. Here is a straightforward, three-step plan to ensure you’re taking into account the employee’s point of view.

Third, be realistic about pay. In 2023, your key people may be struggling with the cost of living. People will start quitting jobs, even jobs they love, simply because they have to pay the bills. So ensure your best people are appropriately compensated before they complain by resigning.

Business Continuity

We prefer not to have a doom-and-gloom outlook. But the evidence does show that an average company is affected by a serious calamity every three to five years. And if you’re not prepared, it could have a major reputational impact—or even spell the end of your business.

You should be revisiting your business continuity plan at least once a quarter to ensure it still makes sense. Is it absolutely clear who is responsible for what if (and when) there is a problem? Does it contain all the elements you need to keep your business up and running?

If you don’t yet have a business continuity plan, you’d better get started. Here is our tried-and-tested advice on how to objectively assess the risks to your business and plan accordingly. [CEO’s Briefing: IT Risks, Compliance, and Security]

Look after yourself and your team

The term ‘self-care’ can suggest incense and chanting, but the fact is that taking care of yourself and those around you must be a priority.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, the physical and mental health of CEOs has become an area of interest and study—see these informative articles in the Harvard Business School Journal and Sweden’s Institute for Management Development. So it makes sense to look after yourself, both for your own health and that of your company. You simply can’t run up a business when you and your leadership team are run down.

If you want to make your priorities stick, they need to be other peoples’ priorities as well. Create your list, commit yourself, and communicate it widely and often.