It’s the top of the year. A time for renewal, new beginnings, resolutions, and betterment. We’ve all been here before – the sense of newness and desire to seek improvement is palpable.
But why does January 1 receive all of our fresh attention? What if we could have that same feeling at the beginning of every month? Every week? Every day?
Seek improvement is one of our core values here at OPX – it’s something we strive for every day. But what does this value entail?
Seek: /sēk/ attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something).
Improvement: /imˈpro͞ovmənt/ a thing that makes something better or is better than something else.
Part of this phenomenon of freshness is rooted in rest. The calm before the storm. The time set aside to gather thoughts, reconnect, rest up, and recharge for a new year, a new month or week, or even a new day.
Perhaps then, part of the beauty of January 1 is not the day itself, or even the start of a new year. Rather, it’s the “winding down” of the year prior. That time where we make time to reconnect with family and friends, to celebrate another year gone by. We reflect on our accomplishments, successes and learn from failures of the past year….There’s a calming essence to this oft-sung hymn as we usher in a new year. Lest we forget those times gone by, because by that very act of reflection we are able to take a deep breath to appreciate where we’ve been and in turn, prepare for the next thing: A pause. A period.
What if we could work this punctuation into our daily lives? Our work lives? Organize the fray. Breathe. There’s enough chaos in the world – why not introduce this feeling of reprieve into our routines, our organizations, or even our clients?
Every Monday morning, we distribute an office-wide newsletter of sorts – the OPXpress – featuring events for the week, business development leads, project spotlights, and even Podcasts of the Week (POW!). It’s a little gesture that helps calm the storm of Monday morning, center us, and give some perspective to the week.
Every new client of ours experiences this introductory pause tactic in the form of our Vision Session. It kicks off our Integrated Operating Environment process and calls the organization’s leaders together for a full three hours to intentionally pause. It provides an opportunity separate from the chaos of the workday to reflect on the company’s strategy and future outlook. Sometimes this session is held off-site, allowing participants to literally step away and focus on the organization’s long-term strategy. We ask them to focus on the big picture so we can remedy the short-term changes, whether it’s in the form of a real estate transaction, new leadership, downsize, or substantial growth.
Reflect on what’s important.
We can apply this to this transition time at the end of one year and the beginning of the next.
Reflect on what’s important.
What did you accomplish in 2017? How were last year’s accomplishments aligned with your goals? How can you accomplish more towards those goals in 2018? How can we seek improvement?
The beauty of a new year is the promise of new opportunities to do just that – to find new ways we can grow and thrive as individuals, and as a company. But in order to improve, there must be a shift in what you’ve been doing. The first step is awareness. How can you seek something if you are not aware things could be better? Or if you do not desire to obtain something new?
Often this desire is manifested in the form of New Year’s resolutions. Go to the gym every day. Eat better. Learn a new skill. Lose weight. They are all worthy goals but how many of these last? How many are transferred into our daily routines? Just compare the attendance at a gym on January 2 and March 2.
Much like change, improvement does not happen overnight. As design thinkers, we are constantly assessing, evaluating, circling, iterating, and responding. Nothing is ever good enough for us. That constant critic is in our DNA, and it’s both motivating and exhausting. There must be a better way. So how could we… work better?
After all, the joy is in the journey not the destination. It’s through the process of seeking that we discover more about ourselves, learn from our strengths and flaws, and create a vision for a better future. It’s not a clear end state, nor should it be. Seeking improvement is innate, constant, and something we strive for every day.
One of our goals for 2018 is to explore our values and to capitalize on the concepts we are known for. Sure, our clients may know us as thought leaders and innovators but in an effort to reach a wider audience and diversify our tribe, we will be exploring these themes throughout the year by way of our online presence.
We encourage you to join us as we explore each of our values:
Along with concepts we are known for:
Look for original content, discussions, and commentary in line with each of these tenants on each of our social media platforms:
We hope that you will take time to focus, reflect, and take time to Seek Improvement with us in 2018!