Through­out New Year’s Day, I began to emerge out of “hol­i­day time” and into “busi­ness focus time.”  As the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the new year began to take shape in my mind, I found myself both excit­ed and over­whelmed.   In my entre­pre­neur­ial world, there are always so many options and possibilities. 

The real­ly good news is that I love what I do and the peo­ple with whom I work.  For me, this means that the lines between work and play are some­times blurred, as work is a joy.  The down­side is that I can get car­ried away by my enthu­si­asm, over-com­mit to action and put my entire team into over­whelm.  This quick­ly turns joy into chaos.

Over the years, I have cre­at­ed chaos more times than I care to admit.  Thank­ful­ly, I have also matured in my entre­pre­neur­ial capac­i­ty.  Wis­dom has come with age, along with the abil­i­ty to use it con­scious­ly and delib­er­ate­ly to shape my future.   I have devel­oped three qual­i­fy­ing ques­tions to sort through my ideas before com­mit­ting to action.

 First, I ask myself:  Does the idea for­ward our strate­gic plan and is it in align­ment with our three, five and ten year goals?  Most of my ideas fail to sur­vive this ques­tion.  They may be excit­ing, fun and inno­v­a­tive, but do lit­tle toward meet­ing the firm’s goals for the com­ing year or beyond.  They are quick­ly dis­patched to the round file.

For ideas that sur­vive the first cut, I ask:  Do we have the cap­i­tal in terms of mon­ey, per­son­al time and team time to take this idea from imag­i­na­tion to results?  If I am unable or unwill­ing to com­mit the nec­es­sary resources, this tells me that while it is an inter­est­ing idea, I lack the pas­sion to make it suc­cess­ful.   Again, to the round file.

My third ques­tion revolves around bal­ance and fair­ness:  Is the idea fair to those who are impact­ed by it?  This ques­tion is espe­cial­ly impor­tant when I am faced with deci­sions brought on by reces­sion­ary pres­sures like those in 2009.  In that par­tic­u­lar case, when all oth­er options are exhaust­ed and the deci­sion comes down to cut­backs in wages, ben­e­fits or hours, I ask:  Are the cut backs fair and bal­anced across all lev­els of the organization? 

Those ideas that sur­vive my three-pronged attack move into the action realm.  What must I do over the next three to five years to make this idea a real­i­ty?   What must I do in 2010? What must I do in the first quar­ter of 2010?  What must I do tomorrow?

Once an idea turns into an action plan, it may or may not man­i­fest.  If the ener­gy builds as it devel­ops, we nur­ture it into real­i­ty.  If the momen­tum wanes, we let it fade with­out forc­ing or sub­si­diz­ing it. 

At the end of this process, I am left with a few pre­cious, well deserv­ing seeds that, when plant­ed, will cre­ate an abun­dant future for Mack­ey Advisors. 

May the New Year bring you an abun­dance of ideas, and a few pre­cious seeds deserv­ing or your time and atten­tion.  May your pros­per­i­ty increase with grace and ease in 2010.