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.