The Right Time for Change

In Management by Karen Buck

Isn’t it amazing how a few days out of the office can affect your outlook? Those days right after you return – when that deluge of emails seems like something you can realistically surmount – are truly precious.

It’s a time we try to take full advantage of. And you probably do the same. It’s when we think big picture to make sure we’re still on course. It’s when we get inspired. And it provides a little extra dose of energy and creativity that spurs us to implement positive change.

This kind of time is important. Would you like to know how to get more of it?

There’s nothing magic about the beginning of the year. But there is something a little magical about what social scientists call temporal landmarks:

“Dates that stand out as being more meaningful—such as the start of a new week or financial quarter, a birthday, or a holiday— signal the start of a new, distinct time period.”

Research indicates that temporal landmarks help to put us in that same, “just got back from the holidays,” frame of mind.

But here’s the exciting part. It not only feels like a clean slate. The likelihood of successfully making changes is higher when we take advantage of this dynamic.

So do yourself and your organization a favor. Open up your calendar and find 3 or 4 temporal landmarks scattered throughout the year. Now schedule a half- or full-day think session to coincide with them. Use that time to review your goals for the year, think through emerging challenges and opportunities, and make any needed mid-course corrections to get back on track. Take advantage of this natural momentum and carve out some juicy, think big, get creative, and focus on what’s most important time to sustain you and your change efforts all year long.

Image credit: Gábor Bejó