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The Year of Yes

By: Janis Nagy, Chief Strategy Officer

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to put together a small blog post…maybe something on human performance or training.  I think the initial focus was suggested to speed things up.  You know, write about something you’re familiar with so you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it.  Unfortunately, that’s not the way I’m wired.  Familiar or not, it takes the same amount of time.  So, I noodled on it for a while and decided that given the time of year, maybe personal performance was a better topic.  After all, according to Statistics Brain, about 41% of the population actually made a New Year’s resolution in 2017, and a little over 44% of those people focused on some type of Self Improvement.

There are all kinds of people willing to offer advice on this topic; your family, neighbors, co-workers and even people you don’t know, from time to time.  There have been countless books published on management and self-help psychology from Blanchard, to Covey to Drucker and so on; I’ve read and or listened to a lot of them.  My favorites are those that follow the KISS principle… “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Coincidently (because we do a lot of maritime work), KISS was initially registered by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The basic premise is that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. The same goes for self-help solutions.  Simplicity (and scale) should be considered when you contemplate and decide on what you would like to accomplish.  Ultimately, my end goal (not that I always achieve it) is to create some type of new rhythm or habit pattern within my life that generates the desired outcomes.  For example, we all know how easy it is to get distracted; probably some more than others, and I tend to be on the more side.  Shortly after I retired and start consulting, I decided I needed to come up with a solution that would help me focus my day.  There’s plenty of research on the benefits of a morning routine to drive productivity, motivation, and creativity. My solution was a simple checklist that I still use 15 years later… (1) check/skim RSS feeds and blogs; (2) open and review Outlook Calendar; (3) check voicemail; (4) prioritize performance; (5) check emails; (6) have fun.  Does it work every day…absolutely not. But on the days that I do employ it, there is a noticeable difference.

You may have noticed that the first item on my checklist is check/skim RSS feeds and blogs… if it wasn’t the first item, it probably wouldn’t happen.  It’s there because I think it’s important.  It’s my way of staying up to date on business and personal trends relevant to my goals.  One of my favorite blogs is produced by The Eblin Group. The Eblin Group (, is a professional development firm that helps leaders advance their style, in particular by being fully present.  I had the opportunity to attend one of their seminars about seven years ago and have stayed connected with them ever since.

So, the morning checklist was an early resolution and attempt at self-improvement.  If you’re like me and keep that as an ongoing initiative, check out the Eblin Groups recent update, Five Quick Posts on How to be Successful in 2018 ( and remember the KISS principle. Reply to this blog post with your own 2018 New Year’s resolution if you’re brave enough.  Mine is to continue my “Year of Yes” from 2017; I’m not big on trying new things.  Ask me how I did on the potter’s wheel the next time I see you 😊

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