Angela Holmes: My top 3 tips for success in 2020
Column | Business Management

Angela Holmes: My top 3 tips for success in 2020

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Can you believe that the new year is here? Are you ready? Let me help you prepare your workplace using three basics tips to move you into 2020 and start you down the path towards success.

Tip No. 1: Align yourself with your customers.

Take a moment to think about your customers. It is easy to lose sight of this important group during this time of year. Who are your customers and what do you provide to them? How do you do this?

Next, think of your organization’s vision statement, mission and brand. Are you serving your customers utilizing those components? Do not panic. Yes, we all have customers. Even if you do not have a vision, mission or brand — you do have customers. We all have customers. Every human resource person, every leader, every teacher, every nurse, every welder — all of us have customers. If you are unsure as to who your customers are, then that is step one for you. Identify your customers and then ask yourself how do you serve them?

Take some time to reflect on this in the new year. Lead your team through this process of aligning with the customer. How can you improve on the level of customer service that you provided in 2019? How can you improve on how you serve this population? Just the fact that you are thinking about this will improve the result. I challenge all of us to think about this every day.

Do not forget your internal customers. Often the internal customer gets completely forgotten. Chances are you have many customers that you are not thinking of at all. Take the time to deeply consider this. It will pay off.

Tip No. 2: Set three goals for 2020.

Best practice dictates goal setting as a team and on an individual level. This can be easy and fun. A great way to start would be the Future/Back approach. Step back and picture yourself at the very end of the a successful 2020. What has happened? What have you accomplished? Choose the three goals that you mean the most but are achievable. Now, what must you have done to get here? These are the steps that you need to take.

I know that I make it sound so simple, but it does not have to be as hard as we make it sometimes. Do not overthink. Just grab a piece of paper and start writing. Start there. Set your sights on something and go after it. Remember that your goals should be simple and measurable. Review these goals daily once they are set. There are many books out there that can help with goal setting. Pick one and read it.

Tip No. 3: Process improvement.

Pick one process in your organization to audit and improve. You can pick a big process or a small process but pick one that you can personally go and see or become involved in. I also suggest forming a team that will work on this. Always get the input of the people involved. This is very important. Do not push your own views on the process without understanding it. There are many Do’s and Don’ts to this, but it is not hard and is so valuable. Do not wait. You can do this. Chances are that you have someone in your organization that likes to do this and is good at it. See the very basic steps here.

• Map the process

• Analyze the process

• Redesign the process

• Change the process

• Communicate the change

• Review new process

This is a very simplified list of steps that you can use. Do not forget to measure your success. Measure and quantify at all steps. Include the people involved in the process at all levels. Get buy-in before making changes and collect feedback after.

These are my top three suggestions to take on for a successful 2020. Add a few of your own to the list but do not overcommit. I picked this list because these items are valuable and not hard. These items will give you a big bang for your buck. Also, these items can truly turn around your year. Happy 2020 to you. Let’s do this!

Thank you to Russell Williams for our conversation together at The Marion, Illinois Chamber of Commerce Lunch & Learn back on Dec. 18. We chatted about work-life balance. It was a pleasure to speak to you and speak to the group.

Heads up: The IRS has released the new Federal W4 for 2020. Make sure you have downloaded it. It is vastly different than what most employees are used to seeing so give it a look.

According to a DOL Opinion Letter, parents may take FMLA time to attend IEP meetings if they have FMLA paperwork on file certifying a serious health condition for the child with the IEP. If your organization offers FMLA to employees, be aware of this change.

Angela Holmes helps people navigate the workplace by providing advice and guidance through private coaching. Angela is a HRCI certified human resource expert, writer and public speaker with over twenty years of experience leading people and organizations. Angela is the vice president of human resources at National Railway Equipment Co (NRE) and can be contacted at


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