At the end of every year, when the big holiday rush begins, I often find myself a little overwhelmed and reminiscent. There are several reasons that lead to being at either end of that spectrum, and neither one is necessarily a good or bad thing. Emotions can be strange in that way, especially when you add family, parties, and a little vacation planning into your normal work schedule. So, whether you are ending this year on a high or a low, I always try to use this time as an opportunity to evaluate how my year went, set new goals, and figure out how to reach them.
Personally, this year was fairly stressful, and learning how to manage new stress wound up being a rewarding process. There have been structural and organizational changes to my business along with growth in both our personnel and portfolio. So, while business may have been good this year, we all know that’s not all life has to throw at you.
Last month my daughter got married, and the year was filled with good stress as we planned for her big day. The bad stress came the day before the ceremony when her venue burned in the Woolsey Fire. That whole weekend was littered with incredible examples of performance under pressure, gratitude, and friends, family, and strangers going above and beyond in strenuous circumstances. To make an incredibly long story short, my daughter and her coordinators secured a new venue and planned a new ceremony in four hours, during an evacuation. The next day, we, our guests, and all our vendors showed up to a new venue, sight unseen, and absolutely knocked it out of the park. It was truly a beautiful and humbling experience to see such incredible teamwork and camaraderie where all signs pointed to giving up.
I don’t mean to bring up the wedding as an opportunity to brag, or to make light of what truly was a devastating fire, but as a way to illustrate a very real fact of life. Aside from the normal stressors that arise during this time of year, and regardless of your level of planning or organizational talents, the fact remains that we can never truly plan for everything. We must take the good with the bad and be able to respond accordingly. There’s no shortage of curveballs in the world, and there’s no telling when you’ll be faced with something difficult, unknown, or have something literally fall apart around you. Being prepared is your only true option for success and ensuring that your team is well-equipped for common or foreseeable problems is a great goal to set for yourself in the coming year.
Now, the best way to prepare for something unexpected is to take a look at what has happened in the past year. Having an accurate account of what failed, broke, or needed repeat attention throughout the year will paint a pretty obvious picture of what could occur next year. Taking the time to fully evaluate your facility will prepare you and your team for at least a few months.
Now, we’ve talked about setting up a maintenance plan in a previous article and evaluating your plan every year can be a big help when deciding where to focus your attention in refining your operations. If you’re honest with yourself and look at your maintenance plan in comparison to what was and was not done this year at your facility, you may discover areas where you could have done better. But are there also things you and your team did really well this year? I know that while I’m proud of what my team accomplished this year, there are still many things left unfinished on my list, but I shouldn’t let those cheapen the areas where we excelled this year.
Another important aspect that will contribute to successful maintenance and operations at your facility is maintaining beneficial partnerships. Have you taken the time to grow your relationships with reliable vendors and suppliers that offer quality services? Is there someone who you can always count on to have what you need? Keeping in regular contact with someone who can always get you that after-hours part or who has a long history of troubleshooting can turn into a valuable partnership. Simply thanking someone for their assistance and letting them know that they’re more than just a “back pocket” resource might seem like a simple or meaningless chore, but the benefits of strong strategic partnerships can make a huge financial difference at the end of the year.
It can be easy to get off track when you start critiquing your annual performance, or that of your team. Don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the successes you’ve had this year and celebrate what you did well. Positive moral is integral to starting off the year on the right foot, and an easy way to lead yourself and others into a better frame of mind is by not forgetting your accomplishments. Don’t become bogged down by things you could have done better or failed to finish. Instead, focus on how to fix the obstacles that prevented you from completing your goals and approach your tasks with a plan and better set of tools.
For the rest of the month I’ll be covering some of the more common questions I get around this time of year. We won’t just be looking into goals to set at your facility; we’ll talk about leftover budgets, memorable failures and what we can learn from them, as well as routine testing and maintenance. I consider this as a “greatest hits” of sorts, and during this year-end-evaluation, I think it’s the perfect time to take a step back and assess where you and your team are going once the new year hits.
As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions or comments about electrical testing or maintenance at your facility.