With the global economy in decline, and the financial services more or less freezing the flow of cash that is the lifeblood of small businesses it looks like being a year of challenges for all of us. Looking at my own team (cut by 20%) and my own budget (cut by 20%) and the goals for 2009 (also cut – but not by 20%) we’ll be facing challenges to deliver the quality we’ve built our reputation on. Lucky I have a smart team – we’re starting the year with an open planning session I’m currently working on how to make that as fun and productive as possible – which is pretty much my challenge for the whole year.

I said at the beginning of last year that in my view a great team was one which;

  • delivers on time
  • beats expectations on quality
  • has a strong team spirit

I still believe that, this year we add budgetary pressures, and development needs into the mix. I have a young team, for two of the team it’s their first “real” job. Two others only joined the team this year, so I want all four of them to develop in some way that we agree on. The fifth member of the team is nearing retirement, so I have to balance his needs – and facilitate the transfer of his knowledge.

So my workshop will be about;

  • budget
  • planning goals
  • year planning
  • individual goals (work & development)
  • what do we want to celebrate at the end of the year?

This last is very important, we’re a service team and much of what we do is behind the scenes and often goes unacknowledged. I try very hard to make sure we get recognition throughout the year – it means something to my team members and it helps with discussions with upper management during the year if they’re aware of at least some of what we’ve done.

I’ll be making sure the seniors in my team do some of the presenting, and everyone talks about their own goals. I have to find a fun exercise related to the end of year celebration – I want us to end on a high note.

And we need some jokes, it’s going to be a tough year – it’s important we keep our sense of humour.

Roll on 2009!


image: challenge via pixabay

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