The approach of another new year calls for reflecting on the past as well as anticipating the future.  As a program or category manager, you may look at the numbers and track how you have grown, contemplating whether you are bold enough to forecast what you might see at the end of the next year.

You may also take the time to reflect on what your partners have done over the year, and more importantly, what you have done for your internal customers to help them meet their business objectives.

In the spirit of managing forward rather than via the rear-view mirror, I suggest starting the new year with success as your target. Here’s how:

  • Evaluate your company’s business objective for the coming year. Does your program objective support the overall company objectives? Do you need to tweak it a bit or totally revamp and make certain that your team (internal or external) understands how the important work they do affects the ability of the company at large to meet business objectives?
  • Take a look at your partners and consider how you want them to evolve with you over the new year. Celebrate those who are in step with your company’s goals and vision and determine which partners you will coach to help them adjust and bring them along. Finally, identify the partners that won’t make it; any business owner will tell you that if their client’s end goal isn’t in line with their own business objectives, they would prefer to bow out sooner rather than waste time, effort and money trying to fit.
  • Talk with your internal customers and learn about their goals for the year. If they need to augment their team with project talent to meet objectives, consider different sourcing options.  Look at ways of completing the work with different talent engagement models.  Gain buy-in from your internal customer to utilize these different channels and make them part of the evaluation process.
  • Look in the mirror and evaluate what more you can do to keep your program agile enough to shift in order to meet company objectives.  Are you open to changing the rules of engagement? Are you looking for groups within the organization that might need a new way to engage talent?
  • Schedule learning time each week to stay current with the industry, your company and with the workforce solutions ecosystem. It feels as though this industry changes at hyper speeds. For example, the gig economy is changing everything that will be possible in the future.  Be the change agent in your company to evaluate all of your options and offer what might work for your internal customers to help them meet objectives.
  • Get certified. Staffing Inudustry Analysts’ Certified Contingent Workforce Professional designation not only signifies its holders have a base level of knowledge, it gives you a license to plan, and identify where else in your organization your program might be needed.
  • Be the person that pushes the imagination to start the discussion within your organization and with partners to imagine if things could be done differently. Explore new parts of the business that may benefit from your expertise (e.g., SOW work, outsourced services, independent contractors, freelancers and even artificial intelligence). How might they affect your company? What can be adopted in the short term? Sell the vision internally.
  • Find your 2017 champion, either from within or a partner, someone who has the right approach to get people to listen and engage in your vision.
  • Be your program’s best story teller and market your wins all year long. Discuss talent shortages and challenges, and ensure that everyone knows what your program is doing to solve them. If you find a way to distribute work differently that is effective, partner with your internal customer and shout it from the mountain top. Make certain that your program is the “go to” group to solve problems whether you do it or you point them to the group that can. You touch every part of the organization, so use that exposure to make sure everyone knows it!
  • Be a source of knowledge while being gracious with your customers, partners, and team.

Here’s to a fabulous 2017!