On the brilliant, unseasonably warm early afternoonof November 21st, 2003, I found myself travelling 5 hours homeward-bound alongOntario's Highway 401 from a speaking engagement near the Ontario-Quebecborder. Since that weekday marked my father's 75th birthday, and since hischosen rural retirement community was located in that part of Eastern Ontario,I decided to surprise him with a birthday visit. He hadn't expected me untilthe following weekend, but I just couldn't resist the serendipity of itall…and a beautiful afternoon to enjoy together, to boot!
Well, surprise him I did! We had a fabulousafternoon…went for a long country drive along golden rural roads, stopped fora proper English country Tea and even squeezed in a visit to a chocolatefactory! Who could ask for more? As the sun sank too early below theStandard-Time horizon, the day and our time together quickly came to a close.So as to not be driving on dark roads alone for too long a time, I left by thedinner hour, promising to return at Christmastime. That never happened.
Two weekslater, my otherwise robust, sturdy and healthy father took mysteriously unwelland was transferred to three progressively larger hospitals over 10 days beforereceiving the diagnosis of stroke. Although he was given the encouragement offull recovery he died in hospital on December 21, 2003–one month to the dayafter our spontaneous afternoon together–and not from a stroke, after all, butrather, a virus that entered his spine, called acute disseminatedencephalomyelitis. I hadn't travelled the four hours back to visit him inhospital between December 6th and the 21st, due to my own illness (a nasty flu,and besides, my dad was getting better and we'd see him during Christmas week,or so I thought). A decision I'll always regret.
December is a terrific time for taking action.Learning from my own regret, what might you regret doing or not doing thisseason if you defer once again? Who are some of the people with whom you'd liketo reconnect, either in the workplace or elsewhere? What are some of theworkplace tasks you'd like to complete, to be able to reach year's end with asense of peace and satisfaction? What happiness can you bring to your Decemberdays, as well as to the experience of others, both colleagues and clients orcustomers, alike?
These days at work, before the Christmas break, canbe taxing or terrific, depending on the seasonal demands of your job and withinyour organization. For some, this is the slow season; for others, it's panictime extraordinaire. Regardless, it is that time of year, yet again.
So declare December a time forleadership — personal or professional — in action; apply these 10 strategies todeliver you (and your team) to a happy and peaceful year's end…