In the new year, try better!

What if we make 2024 the year of “better” instead of “best?”

Geoff Wilson

We are about to ring in the new year…again.

Everything is new.  It’s alive, glistening in its rebirth, and reimagined in its potential for perfection in 2024.

Right?     Right?       ???

Of course not.  If you are among the “executive class,”  you probably have just limped softly into a holiday season with more priorities than passion.  You’ve just spent the Christmas holiday at home or away in joy but with a low simmer of next year-itis starting to build.

If that is not an issue for you, then this is not the new year’s blog post for you.

This is the new year’s blog post for the grinders out there.  It’s for the people who look back on the year with confidence in accomplishment, sure, but also with knowledge of what didn’t get done.  And, it’s for the people who are nursing that minor stomach bubble of what needs to get done as the new year kicks off.

It’s for the entrepreneur who just spent the past two weeks trying to get back to working “on” the business vs. working “in” the business.  It’s for the finance executive who has been tying up loose ends for a calendar year fiscal close.  It’s for the operations executive who is in the throes of the holiday season where it seems like execution grinds to a halt for a portion of the team.

And, it’s for the professional who has been brought up on the fool’s gold of “optimizing.”  That’s the basic unit of unobtanium in complex systems that so many of us are chasing.

Yeah, this one’s for you.  Here it goes:

I grew up on “optimizing” and have slowly changed my tune and the tune of our professional work to softer tones of achieving “better” and “helping.”  Why?

Because optimizing is an ulcer.

Better is a celebration.

I’d rather celebrate.

Optimizing is a McKinsey-polished graph on a piece of paper that shows what’s “possible” (your mileage may vary, we accept no responsibility for your decisions based on our advice–all ulcers belong to you). It’s the financial model that nobody understands or even inspects. It’s the supermodel ideal.  It’s the private jet.

Better is a policy changed, a machine moved, a key hire made, a customer won, or a product launched that will all bring real-world results. It’s pencil and paper…working out the decision we will make today. It’s a spouse you love.  It’s a manual transmission in an old truck that still hauls your stuff.

In other words, better is the ability to take on a complex, often broken system (world, even) led and executed by complex, often broken people…and to eek out a few more happy customers.

It’s the avoidance of analysis paralysis.

It’s giving it a go.

It’s having at it.

It’s moving forward…even when you know you are limping.

Most importantly: It’s something to believe in.

And, so, I offer you this simple phrase:  In 2024, focus on better.

Happy New Year!

Geoff Wilson still looks to optimize way too much in life.  How about you?

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