Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020... A year of action, not intentions!

At times it seems amazing to me to reflect that we are beginning the second decade of the 21st century!  As a child of the 60's ( yes, the 1960's) and someone who started his business career in the mid-80's, I feel VERY fortunate to begin 2020 fully engaged in a wonderful business, working with a great team, and looking to the year ahead filled with optimism and energy.  Sure there are challenges and obstacles ahead, some that we can see clearly and others that I know are waiting around some dark corner, but regardless of that truth, I am certainly energized for the road ahead in the new year!

As I think about the year ahead, 2020 seems so pivotal as I think about the broader context.  It will certainly be a pivotal year for our business at Bolthouse Farms, where we are focused on "stabilizing the business to rebuild a platform for growth."  That strategic "mantra" has been our focus since we bought the business in June, and we will see that "return to growth" in 2020 without question!  While certainly a pivotal business year, 2020 is filled with great portent for our country and the world broadly.  We have a huge election in ten months that will dramatically affect the future of our country and the challenges ( and opportunities) facing our planet as we start the new year have never been more dramatic or more pressing!  Its within this context that I have thought about this essay, and am really struck by the need for action across the board ... action on the issues and opportunities ahead, not just good intentions, clever words,  and platitudinal inaction!

Take action in business: We certainly have a lot to do at Bolthouse Farms to get the business back on a track of growth for the exciting future that lies ahead.  Regardless of the department, role or function, there is a lot to do!  While at moments like this it can seem intimidating with the extent of  action that is required, the great thing to remember is to just dive in and begin!  Take action on the projects that lie ahead, take small steps and dig into the work that is needed, encourage your team- mates to dig into the work, not "talk" about the work!  Too often we swirl around issues, problems and opportunities "talking" a good game, but never "plowing forward" into the work required.  Whatever the business situation you are facing, my encouragement is to prioritize your "actions" on the projects that lie ahead in 2020 and stay focused on making a difference with the results of your "action filled" work!

Take action personally: This is a perfect time of year to take stock of where we all are personally, either as leaders, as parents, spouses or friends and decide what actions we can take this year to get better at the things that are important to us.  I am not a big fan of grandiose new years "resolutions;" too often a set of words and ideas that sound great but never actually happen or don't happen for very long.  As for me, now that I am working every week in California, I am focused on sleep and exercise... and my plan is to walk EVERY day and insure that I can get at least 7 1/2 hrs of sleep EVERY night.  I know it doesn't seem very inspiring, but for me to be effective, for me to be my "best self" in 2020, those two "every day" actions will be critical for a successful year ahead!

Take action in your communities:  We live and work in the context of communities that span the globe, and its too easy for us to live in our bubbles, listen only to our "echo chambers" of self curated news and information and forget the wider landscape of humanity we live within.  Get involved in food banks, food pantries, homeless shelters, etc. where you can give some of your time, and resources to those more in need.  Find ways to give back globally and locally to help strengthen communities that matter to you.  Finally insure that you are registered to vote and take action on election day in November! Our right to vote is precious and a foundation for our country and too many people blow it!  Get out there in the primaries and at the general election and cast your vote, take action for our democracy!

This headset on actions vs intentions is not new in my essays.  Over the past ten years I have covered this topic and idea from a few angles and for those looking for some "extra readings" in this area, check out the following essays:

"Our actions betray our intent"

"Act with intent : Redux"

"Good ideas executed brilliantly"

I want to wish everyone a very happy and healthy new year and I am confident and that 2020 will be a year to remember because of the actions we take in our businesses, our families and our communities!!