Saying Goodbye to 2015

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Before we make those grand plans for 2016, take a moment to consider this: how much of what you want for next year is based on what you didn’t get this year?

If your goals for 2016 are completing something you began in 2015, there might be a very good reason why you didn’t get it done this year. Was it a lack of time? Perhaps unrealistic expectations? Unreliable partners who let you down? Maybe a poor balance between personal and professional priorities?

Whatever the reasons are, wouldn’t it be great to know you’re going into the new year without making the same errors again? Not only that, how about making plans for 2016 without the baggage of the things, people, finance problem, etc. that held you back in the past twelve months?

Walking away from 2015 takes more than simply leaving the past behind and hoping it fades into the background. It usually doesn’t. We come across the same challenges, bump into the same people or have to deal with the same financial deficits. We suggests some practical ways of moving forward while locking the past in the past.

Accept It

As tough as this might sound, let the past go. In other words, draw a line under it. We use the ending of a film as an analogy here. Some films have a happy ending, others don’t. Some things in your 2015 had a happy ending, others didn’t. Let the credits roll and move on. Say to yourself “That was a bad situation. I lost X, I trusted Y, I spent X and it didn’t work out.” That’s the end of the story. No comebacks and no sequels. 

I did say it was tough. Everything is a lesson, or at least it is when you ask yourself “What could I have done differently?” Sometimes it’s obvious that you missed something. Faced with the same situation again you would definitely do something else. Accept that as the lesson. You may also learn that the situation was out of your control. Nothing you could have done or said would have changed the outcome. Accept that too. Now take stock and eject that movie.

Formalise It

In some cases, a business deal or relationship might be on-going. This is the perfect time of year to put some boundaries or formality around it. Perhaps someone has offered to help you with promotions for a reciprocal service. Did you receive the support for your product or service you expected?  

Whether you did or not, this is a great stage to say “let’s do more of what’s been working” or “let’s reconsider how we can work together better”. You should have numbers or anecdotal evidence to back up your conversation. Does one unit of your service have the same value to your partner? Have you been doing all the work while they have only showed up at the end?

It is worth taking time out to talk it through with them to get everything straightened out. You’re potentially going to invest  another 365 days of your time, resource and effort with them; putting aside a day to work it all out properly  leaves you with 364 days of a great partnership.

Leave It

Lethal B said it best, “Leeeave it, yeah!” Seriously. Some things are literally best left in the past. That means all of it. That thing, the deal, the person, the company, the hurt, the tears… all of it. You have sat down and considered what went wrong, or could have been done differently. You’ve decided it is not profitable to take forward into 2016. Now leave it. You can’t take everything or everyone forward with you. 

The more you are already carrying, the less you can pick up in the new year – new opportunities, new ideas, new collaborators. It is never easy to start a new partnership in 2016 when things are left ambiguous with a former colleague. It just gets awkward. It is better to go it alone, with fewer  resources, fewer contacts… especially as those haven’t helped you in the past year. Be professional, tie up the loose ends and leave it as amicably as possible. Remember this is about winning with a lesson, not looking for payback. If there is good will, you might even work together again in future, so be completely transparent and respectful.

What about the money?

What have you actually lost in real terms? There are certain things you can’t claim back: time, emotional or physical investment, hurt, ideas. You can’t get them back. Money is a different matter.  It does two things in our opinion. Firstly there might be amounts owed to you based on receipts, invoices and contracts. If you have these, you can pursue your expenses for services and goods you might have outstanding; legally if you have to.  

However if you don’t have any of this to support your claim, there is a second purpose for money. Value. You may find that the real value of the disappointment you are holding on to, when you weigh it up against your loss, is out of proportion. There’s no need to lose sleep over £200 when your future business is worth a lot more. The way I think about it, there are business courses which would cost ten times as much. If you’ve learned a lesson and know how not to repeat it, then it’s money well spent. Cut your losses. Yes, that phrase has meaning. Cut your losses and move on.

Whatever you have planned for 2016, I wish you well and pray that it is not at the cost of lessons learned from 2015. Here’s to a successful year ahead.

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Understanding Your Relationship

It’s a common cliché that no two relationships are the same. This is true for both our business and our personal lives. Your partnership with one person can be more effective than with someone else. This blog breaks down some of the ways in which people work together.

I’m going to keep the jargon down to a minimum and use everyday illustrations to really spell it out. In my observation, there are 5 primary types of relationships:

1. The Fork and Knife

imageIn this kind of relationship, both Fork and Knife split the work and address what needs to be done together. They both sell tickets, or run the event, or paint the hallway or make the cupcakes. This relationship is about many hands making the work lighter or easier. Yes, one could do it by themselves (I have on occasion tackled a piece of meat with just a fork) but working together gets the job done better. One might have an advantage in a particular area i.e. access to a different kind of resource or audience. Overall what they want to achieve is the same thing.

2. The Ball and Bat

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This is often the kind of relationship mentors have with their mentees or coaches have with clients. The Bat gives the Ball energy to go further than it could have under its own ability. In this type of partnership, the Bat and Ball don’t make the same journey. They are essentially independent until they come together.  It’s only when they come into contact, that the power happens – not independently, but through their exchange.

3. The Ball and Glove

imageThis is similar to the Ball and Bat partnership and is seen in cricket or baseball. The Glove helps the Ball connect to the right stumps or base. The Ball travels a vast distance but it’s the Glove that catches it, gets it to the right place and makes the journey worthwhile. This type of relationship is common for creative people who can have 101 ideas a minute and need more strategic partners to make a business out of the idea.

4. The Spade and Bucket

imageThe old school ‘bringing home the bacon’ analogy – when one of the team brings in a lump sum and another apportions it to what needs to be taken care of. The role of both parties is handling resources but in different capacities. I know a great fundraiser who can generate money for whichever course she chooses. Her partner takes those resources and manages the account that needs to be done. The Spade may seem more dynamic but the Bucket can handle more than the Spade could by itself. In fact, it can handle more than one Spade.

5. The Panties and Bra

imageSometimes the same method cannot be used to cover the essentials. This is the idea of the Panties and Bra relationship. They both cover different areas yet can be identified as a matching pair. They do not do the same job and are not interchangeable  They have fundamentally different ways of working. However without one or the other, things can be left exposed.

These are the five broad areas in understanding the kinds of partnerships you may have to negotiate. It is important that you know what is best for your situation.

  • Is my partner selling tickets within their demographic?
  • Am I a periodic resource for an infrequent sponsor?
  • Do I manage the intellectual offering of a highly creative person?

However you see yourself, once you get what makes your partnership work (or not), you’ll be able to improve on it to get the best out of it for both of you.

For more insights on working relationships, contact info@ideasgenius.com and follow us on Twitter @ideasgenius.