The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Start Now

While the time of end-of-year reports and planning for the new year has started, remember that getting a head start before the holidays will help you land on your feet when you’re back in the office after the midnight countdown. Generally, employees are strapped for time.  Many associations and other employers will be closing for one or two weeks at the end of the year to give their staff some additional holiday time with friends and family, which is a great benefit.  Other employers will be providing additional flexibility for staff to attend holiday performances at schools and other holiday-related commitments.  When January 2 rolls around, there’s a lot on everyone’s plates.  Let’s not forget that even after the stress of the holidays is over, 6-14% of employees will be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (according to the National Institute of Health).  

Create the light at the end of the tunnel now, and communicate with your team about your thoughts for next year’s goals. Start the new year with specific, achievable goals, and support your employees in achieving those goals.  Sometimes additional telework privileges or remote work time can be helpful in carving out time to achieve goals.  Use SMART criteria for goal setting to jump-SMART the New Year.

For some of us, the quiet time this time of year when everyone is out of the office with their holiday commitments is some of our most productive time–time for thinking and planning to get a head start on the new year.   For others, it’s hard to maintain work and personal demands.  In either case, with some thought and planning this month, as well as time off from work demands to refresh and rejuvenate, we can start the new year with fresh motivation and momentum.  

Are you considering a retreat to strengthen your team in the new year?  I just facilitated two retreats last month.  The first was a team-building retreat for the American Women’s Club of Antwerp‘s Board of Directors.  We used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to learn more about our preferences and how they affect decision-making.   A great tool for the new year!   The second retreat was an InterNations event in Amsterdam to discuss the Fascination Advantage Personality Assessment and how understanding how you are perceived by others can help you build your personal brand, as well as work with others more effectively.

Contact me to facilitate your next retreat or discuss how these assessments can improve your team performance in 2020.

Photos courtesy American Women’s Club of Antwerp.

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For a new Perspective: Thinking of Associations as Catalysts (The long read)

“How companies, working with a catalyst, can redesign supply chains to achieve economic, environmental, and social returns… the role for a new actor, a catalyst, to help companies forge new relationships with external funders, local intermediary companies, NGOs, and community leaders. The catalyst aligns the multiple stakeholders from multiple sectors into enduring, mutually beneficial relationships that produce more value than that currently produced when stakeholders connect only by transactional relationships. The catalyst attracts funding from public and private sources to invest in the new ecosystem, which can generate attractive financial returns while alleviating poverty and environmental degradation. Finally, the catalyst engages the multiple participants to collectively co-create explicit strategies and scorecards of metrics, which serve to motivate, create accountability, and enable an enduring governance model for a multi-stakeholder ecosystem.”

Read more on Harvard Business School Working Knowledge Baker Library.

Microsoft's 3-day-weekend in Japan?

“Microsoft Japan test ran this summer, with employees working four days, having three off, and still collecting their full paycheck. The biggest benefit to the company? Productivity went up 40%.”


the .org situation?

“The organization that runs the .org domain name registry, Public Internet Registry (PIR), is selling itself, sparking concern among the non-profit community.”



Googles sees succession in Action

“On Tuesday, Mr. Page and Sergey Brin, his Google co-founder, said they were stepping down from day-to-day executive roles at Alphabet, Google’s parent company. While the move seemed sudden, it was the culmination of a yearslong separation between two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent founders and the company they began 21 years ago.”



“The office holiday party is a common tradition at associations, but it’s evolved. According to experts, there are new trends aimed at providing a better experience for all employees.”

Read more on:

Mark Your Calendar

You’re invited to join Association CareerHQ on December 11th at 3:00 pm Eastern for our first Association HR Pulse Facebook Live Session featuring a lively and informative discussion on the pros and cons of evolving your vacation policy.

Association Pulse is a new periodic series that features interactive discussions of some of today’s hottest recruitment and retention topics. In this inaugural session, HR expert Mary Ellen Brennan, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP will facilitate the conversation with a panel of association leaders including Michele Rackey, ChFEBC, MBA, Executive Director/CEO of the Government Employees’ Benefit Association and Bob Skelton, CAE, Chief Administrative Officer of ASAE.

So, mark your calendar now and on December 11th plan on grabbing a cup of coffee, logging in, learning what other organizations are doing, and coming away with insights, tips, and tactics that you can use with your workforce.

Key Details

  • How to Participate: On the day of the event – December 11, 2019, just follow the main ASAE Facebook Page at the time of the event – 3:00 pm Eastern. (Note it may be a few minutes after the start time before the video begins.)
  • Questions for the Panelists: Submit your questions ahead of the session to and we will make sure to address them during the live discussion.
  • Questions for Us: If you have any questions about this event, please contact us at or 202-626-2891