However, I know from experience that you're setting yourself and your team up to fail because due to technology, here's the reality we all now face.
.....emails keep coming, students keep calling, assessments keep being submitted, records have to be entered, staff need to be supported, marketing happens every day, systems keep needing improvement etc; let alone whatever walks through the 'Unexpected Door'.
So instead of grumbling about the never ending To Do Lists, let's start being more realistic and accepting of them.
TIP 2 STOP AND RESET THE PRIORITIES
It's important to gather your team together (even if you're a team of 1) and determine what realistically can be achieved between now and Christmas.
Here's a simple brainstorming process I use with my coaching clients to determine the key priorities:
• What MUST be done?
• What SHOULD be done?
• What COULD be done?
You might believe this is a waste of time because you and your team already have these tasks listed in notebooks, emails, whiteboards and/or software systems like Monday.com and slack.
But it's only until you can visually see everyone's tasks, that you can truly see how much has to be done which is why I use post it notes and butchers paper for this exercise.
Once you've done this process, you can now make informed and better decisions about what will actually be completed, by whom and by when. But you have to prioritise based on Tip #3.
TIP 3 ASK RATHER THAN ASSUME
Following on from Tip #2, it's important to understand the capacity and capability of you and your team to achieve the key priorities, by taking into account the current workload.
Perspectives on what's important will differ from Managers to other members of the team, so in deciding these priorities, it's important to empower your staff to ask you this great question:
If you want me to do X before Christmas, then that means I can no longer do Y and Z. Is that OK?
You also need to ask yourself this question because no matter how hard you work or want it, you can't complete 3-6 months of outstanding work in less than 1 month.
Unfortunately, I see too many people using the Christmas office closure as a reason to burn out themselves and their team just to meet deadlines which were set probably at the beginning of the year and haven't been managed well since then.
So reset the priorities between now and Christmas, ensure they're actually achievable and have a few bonus tasks up your sleeve in case you have a great run.
TIP 4 YOUR 2022 BUSINESS PLAN IS A MUST
Before you wind down for the year, spare a thought for 2022.
For many overwhelmed Managers in an RTO, the last thing on their mind is planning for next year – especially after the last two years we've all been through.
But putting off an essential success factor of your business is not the answer. And even if you're not sure yet what looms ahead in 2022, you have to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Do this and we can all overcome anything 2022 throws at us.
Unfortunately, too many RTOs don't have a documented Annual Business Plan because they are
- Too focused on compliance
- Don't know where to start
- Too busy
So blocking out at least 1 day to plan 2022 is a MUST!
Now you may be thinking, 'that's great Tamara but I don't have a day free until Christmas.'
If this is you, then I hope you do 2 things right now.
1. Block out 1-2 days in the first week you're back in January to get this job done.
2. Join me on 2 December for my How To Write Your 2022 Business Plan... on 1 Page Webinar where you'll discover:
- Why most Business Plans don't get written (or even achieved)
- The Power of Simplicity and Focus
- How to write your 2022 Business Plan quickly and easily
- And get the templates!
In just 90 minutes, you'll see how quickly and easily this job can be completed and it will provide you and your team with the CLARITY about how to springboard into an even more successful 2022.TIP 5 DON'T BRING YOUR 2021 BAGGAGE INTO 2022
The last 2 years in particular have been extremely challenging but we have to bring a better attitude and sense of optimism into 2022: for ourselves, our team, our students/clients and our businesses.
I believe it's now time to change the language around COVID and everything the pandemic has brought us including masks, checking in and lockdowns.
I'm sure there's still going to be challenges we'll have to manage next year but let's look at what we can control.
We can control our attitude and language so I'm hoping RTOs (if they haven't already) consider these two suggestions.
1. Masks are now part of your uniform so if someone's not wearing it, it's a breach of your uniform policy.
2. Start a whiteboard tally within your team to show how many days it's been since someone mentioned the 'C' word (and the 'M' and 'L' words as well and any others you'd like to include).
Let's turn this negative and something which is probably here to stay into a positive badge of honour – just like the construction industry did many years ago to manage workplace health and safety accidents.
These organisations now proudly show their '# days since the last accident' signs so let's do the same thing, just for a different outcome.
And if you want to know the other type of baggage RTOs bring to their workplaces and how to change this, then check out my recent What's In Your RTO Suitcase Webinar.
TIP 6 3 ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR 2022 RTO BUSINESS
As part of my 2022 Business Planning process, I ask clients to think about the 3 things from 2021 they want to Keep Doing and Stop Doing.
This leads them to then decide on the 3 things they want to Start Doing in 2022.
We know if nothing changes, then nothing changes so taking the time out to honestly reflect on the good, bad and the ugly within our businesses helps us thrive, rather than just survive.
TIP 7 FOCUS ON YOUR WINS
My final tip is to ensure you remember all the good and many things you HAVE done in 2021.
Too often, you can spend time looking at the list of what hasn't been done, rather than congratulating you and your team on the small and large wins achieved along the journey which was 2021.
And I believe managing the C word and all it entails is a HUGE WIN because the toll it has taken on yourself, your team, your students, your business, your family and friends should never be underestimated.