These ideas are each based on research which shows that they enhance business success. Take a look and see which you are already doing well – and pat yourself on the back for those. Then pick another one or two to practice over the next few months, with a bit of effort you can make each a habit before the year ends. You will thank yourself for it!

Keep Learning
Schedule time to learn on a consistent basis. Learn how your brain works, study newer technologies, pick up ideas from other industries, learn areas far removed from your daily work or career field. Try books – in print, online, or audio. Sign up for some newsletters from your favorite publications – I like a number of those from Smartbrief.  Go to events, visit a museum, take in a concert. Use these to keep your mind active, develop new ideas, and make your work effective.

Network Effectively
You may know you should network but are you really nurturing yours? A good network keep you informed, helps you keep learning (as above), and creates business opportunity. Do you, as I do, have a pile of business cards and LinkedIn contacts that you meant to talk to but haven’t? Get going – make a plan, even 10-15 min a day can make a big difference. Don’t be the person who only is in contact when they need help – be the one who keeps in touch regularly. Connect one person you know to another whenever you think they might interest each other. Say hi or have coffee just to catch up. Adam Grant’s “Give and Take” is an excellent look at valuable networking.

Do More of What You Do Well
This is vital to any successful career. Still, too many small biz owners and solopreneurs think they need to do everything in their business. Same for non-profits. Spending a little on expertise or on support services repays you a lot in terms of your own success. Successful people leverage their strengths and minimize work that involves most everything else.

Thank People
Real appreciation is less common than you might think. ‘Liking’ a social media post is not worth much. Saying thank you for a job well done, a helping hand, some ideas or support is valuable. Pick a method that works for you – many famous executives are known for their letters, but emails and messages and face-to-face all work. Be careful though – if you are overly effusive or appear to be faking it, you ruin your reputation.

Be a Role Model
At work it is vital for you to demonstrate the behaviors you want from others. You cannot ask for high levels of effort if you don’t make them yourself. You cannot talk innovation and have a hard rule for everything. How you treat other people becomes how you are treated and how employees treat each other in your organization.

Develop smart practices and policies
Too many organizations have rules and practices that are harmful to the business or raise legal risks. They kill the ideas and value employees can bring in. Too many of us do the same thing with our own daily actions. Ask me about the many times I have seen executives want a policy to stop a problem when what they really needed was to tell the miscreant to stop doing something: not burden the entire organization with another rarely invoked policy whose main message was ‘I don’t trust you.’

“There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”   John F Kennedy