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Three Simple Rules to Live By in 2014

January is traditionally a time of reflection, cleaning out the old to make way for the new, and 3 rules for 2014: Be on time, set agendas, and create valueevaluation of personal environment. Many of us attempt to define personal goals, set agendas, and reach for the stars. The problem lies in creation of realistic habits and not failed attempts. By nature, humans use trial and error to learn about themselves, life, and impact of their environment. Each of us is a collection of individual experience, thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. This makes us individual and special. Any personal changes should keep that in mind.

Rule 1: Be on time

If nothing else in the coming year, change the way you handle time. In business punctuality is a simple rule to follow and builds intangible value by creating credibility, trust, professionalism, and accountability. Don’t be defined by “5 minutes late,” rather focus on preparation, execution, and opportunity. Easy to talk about but difficult to enact or else it wouldn’t be the first rule to follow. The key to punctuality is awareness of time and understanding how to maximize benefit through strategic planning. Start with a review of the coming week and establish a realistic “time cushion” to make sure appointments, tasks, and projects are completed on time. If you are unable to do this, reduce the number of events and focus energy on a smaller list. Remember creating a habit of punctuality doesn’t happen overnight and will take time, planning, and thought.

Rule 2: Create an agenda

Attempting to manage time has created an endless ocean of books, practices, methods, training, software, and specialists attempting to force feed individuals and organizations with their version of a secret sauce for success. In my mind, it simply comes down to expectation. Knowing what you want for a given amount of time will stimulate the necessary thought for preparation, execution, and evaluation leading to the second rule. Create an agenda by  starting with three items/tasks/goals for everything you do. No software, forms, or books are necessary. Simply write down or dictate to yourself three things to accomplish. Simple, direct, and measurable. When you achieve your objectives success is guaranteed. The process will become part of your core competencies. Start with appointments, projects, or tasks that will occur in the next seven days and detail measurable agenda items for each. If the task seems too daunting, simplify and focus on a smaller list to begin the process.

Rule 3: Stimulate value

Building a relationship between objectives and results comes from understanding value. The first step is identifying personal value and defining ways of building value in others. This leads to the third rule: stimulate value in yourself and others. Value creation starts with introspection and validation of self. In business this means knowing your value proposition, creation of a monetary unit (how much is your time worth), development of core competencies, and managing communication methods. The next step is application of key value concepts to relationships finding points of commonality. Become a great listener and interact with others on their terms. Once common ground is reached value management can begin and set the foundation for human capital development.

Applying these Rules

It is great to read about punctuality, agendas, and value management but what is the best way to accomplish them without too much disruption and still have realistic opportunity for success? The answer is to start small. Concentrate on the next seven days and develop the techniques and strategies mentioned above. Start today by listing three objectives for an appointment, event, or task tomorrow. Write out your value proposition and calculate your monetary worth. Get in touch with three of your closest business contacts and find out three things you didn’t know about them before. Write them down and compare them with your value creation. This will lead to the first areas of commonality.


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