3 unlikely questions to prepare for the New Year

An episode of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast

3 unlikely questions to prepare for the New Year

Happy Christmas! In this semi-festive edition of The Impact Multiplier CEO podcast, Richard Medcalf and co-host Davina Stanley explore three powerful questions that every CEO, entrepreneur or senior business leader should reflect on to set themselves up for a fantastic New Year. Engage with them fully, and they'll provoke deeper thinking and shift you into a new realm of possibility.

There are a thousand different templates of questions to ask during your New Year reflections and plans, but here are three questions you might not have thought of.

In this conversation, you’ll discover:

  • The simple structure you can apply to any review process
  • Three powerful questions for your New Year Reflections
  • How to crack the top areas you've been procrastinating on

Resources/sources mentioned:

Remember to download your copy of The CXO's Checklist for Challenging Times!

Watch

More of a video person? No problem.

You can watch this episode and discover more videos on strategy, leadership and purpose over on the Xquadrant YouTube channel.

Transcript

Richard Medcalf
Hi Davina!

Davina Stanley
Hello, Richard. How are you?

Richard Medcalf
It's Christmas. I've got my Christmas mug says Joyeux Noël, if you're watching the video, probably see that, it's my french christmas mug.

Davina Stanley
I'm very bland. There you go, I was not prepared for the topic?

Richard Medcalf
I know you're in Australia and Australia Christmases, you know? Strange it's the middle of summer and everything but you're actually wearing you should be wearing your Christmas jumper with flashing lights.

Davina Stanley
You're not?

Richard Medcalf
Well, I've got my Christmas mug. That's never good enough. Yeah.

Davina Stanley
Failure hardcore here. I have to tell you, we celebrate Australian we celebrate Christmas. We absolutely go to town on Christmas here. So don't be deluded by the plain mug.

Richard Medcalf
But I have been in Australia for Christmas. I have have experienced that a couple of times, in fact. So here we are and I just thought it'd be good for the Christmas episode effectively of the podcast to, in a sense, extend as a bit of a bonus extend this series we've done recently on kind of interesting questions, right, to multiply your impact and we could think about this period, which is often where people are thinking about the new year and, you know, as we were talking before, there's a million articles out there, everyone's gonna send you their template to download for your new year plans, right for your your end of year review. There's a million of those out there and they're all quite helpful in their own ways and but I thought it'd be good to perhaps just focus in on some particularly interesting questions that we can ask ourselves as we look back on the previous year, and look ahead to the new year. So I thought that's how we could spend just a few minutes today.

Davina Stanley
Fantastic. Very good. So what's your first question?

Richard Medcalf
Well, so I've got three. And there's, I always like to think about the past, present and the future. I think in general, it's a fantastic template for anything like you're doing a business review, past present future, you're talking about your team, past, present future. Always a good way to you know, doing a one on one past present future, it always it always works. And so the first one is an interesting question that came up, I was talking with my own my own coach about the year and he said, Well, how did he go this year? So as he was great, my business did really well. It grew by, you know, a very large percentage. And he said, How did you do that? I think it's a great question. How did you do that? So this question is all about thinking, but what, what happened last year? And then how can I do it?

Davina Stanley
So what did you do? What did you do differently? I think that's part of the question, isn't it? If you grew and things changed, what did you do different? 

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, exactly. What did you do? And I suppose I want to pause because it's easy to kind of really get into the all the kind of steps and action plans. But sometimes it could be something else, right? It could be something like, You know what, you know? Yeah, I fell out with my parents or something, you know, how did you do that? Right? Or, you know, it could be No, it could be you know, just something which doesn't feel like anything to do with you, you know, like, all my team got new jobs, and they left. How do you do that? Right? Because, as a leader, we have to take that kind of sense of radical responsibility that we live in a creative world. And so when something happens in the world around us, like, oh, we missed our recruitment targets. How do you do that? Oh, well, it's not our fault. It's the market. Yeah. But I told somebody yesterday, they're struggling with recruitment. And I said, Well, you are but somewhere else, there are probably 1000s of people who are getting new jobs today who are excited about their jobs who are passionate about the new company that joining so you're living in a world where it's really difficult. And there are other people probably who are living in a world where it's fun and easy. Wow, what are they doing differently? And so this question, How did I do that? So for me my business, you know, I was thinking, Well, you know, it's the flywheel effect, like, you know, there were certain people I've been in touch with stayed in touch with them. I launched a couple of new programs this year, which worked really well. There were certain people that I invested in over say, difficult COVID months, that kind of came to fruition. A number of things, right, that kind of came out. But it's really interesting. When somebody asked you, how did you do that? So let me ask you, Dad, what, what's, what was the last year for you? And how did you do it?

Davina Stanley
Yeah, okay. Well, I think this has been a consolidation of this 100% transfer and transition towards online, and I was moving in that direction, and COVID accelerated it. So as much as of course, I bought so much about COVID. From my business perspective, that's been a great opportunity to really optimize our systems and the way we're working and so on. And I think, my assistant or my or my assistants, and I've got a much better system now for working together. So we're much more efficient, much more effective at all the logistics and the back end of things. And I think to, just to your point for your business, I think there's a sense of maturity in my business that's emerging now. And I've had the perhaps the ability to win a couple of very big pieces of work, where I'm working, you know, CEOs, senior leadership team and down. So that just means it's a big program. 

Richard Medcalf
Well, let me slow down. How did you do that? How did you establish those relationships with the CEOs? Or how did that happen? Yes, different means a maturity, but this something has happened that did that. 

Davina Stanley
How did you create a few things? It's the flywheel in a sense, in the sense that, you know, you do good work, and people refer you on and, and so on. And we've got a bit of a niche. And in terms of how we were found for this role, I mean, for this particular piece of work, I did my first had my first interaction with them 18 months ago, so it was a good 12 months lead time. In fact, they disappeared, really off the radar, I thought, Oh, well, I don't know what's going to happen with that work. And so then they came back, they did a major organizational transformation, and then they were ready to start implementing our work around communication. And I had the courage I think of my convictions, because of the work I've done, to say, okay, yes, I can come in and build the skills of your people. But there's not a lot of point in doing that, if the leadership is not on board. And, you know, we're talking about a wholesale organizational thing, I think I need to work with the CEO, too. So I had the confidence to call it and to say, look, I actually believe this is what's needed here to do this really well. And I've got a model that I've used before, which is very low, it's light, it's low touch, if you're working with very senior people, they're incredibly busy, everybody's busy, but you've really got to respect their time. So I've got a way of working with them. That is where I work with them live on real work. So let me let me like training, you know, so I've designed something had the courage to call it and I have designed a method of working that's fit for purpose for different levels in the hierarchy. And it's a change program.

Richard Medcalf
So to slow you down on that what I heard was actually talked about confidence. One point, I always actually say confidence is actually a result, it's never a requirement. And people often get caught on, people always get caught on this, they say, I'm not confidence. And actually what you need to get going is commitment. And so I think that's what I heard you use, you talked about commitment, and courage. And those are the things you need. It's like, I'm so committed, because I see what needs to happen. I'm going to go and tell the CEO, this is what you need to do, you need to be personally involved, because that is being committed to the final outcome. Whereas the confidence can you deliver? Well, yeah, you need to have you know, that can be helpful, but you never do anything. You know, confidence only comes when you look in the rearview mirror and said, Look, I've achieved all this stuff. So let's move on. But I think this past is a really interesting question. Because when you start to get into it, you so yeah, actually, these were the things I've been doing. And you can really unpack that, you know, what are the things that made me them? What are the things that really which were the key relationships, which were the key activities, you can kind of unpack that? But how did that how did I do? That? Is a great question. And then the next one is around the present. And again, there's tons of questions about thinking about what's going on in the present. You know, you can do a circle of life kind of thing where you're evaluating yourself in different areas, but I think one which is quite interesting, a little bit provocative sometimes is what are the big things that I'm procrastinating on, you know, what are the things which I still haven't got around to? You know, the drains I haven't unblocked the holiday they never have scheduled the books haven't finished publishing, talking about Yeah, that's a sneak preview guys. Yes, there'll be coming. Yes. Yeah.

Davina Stanley
Because you haven't procrastinated, you've done your draft.

Richard Medcalf
I did I did. I Yeah, that's right every time every day. So what are you procrastinating on? Because again, it what procrastination does it points to often points to either it points to desire, that it's something that we're a bit frightened about, right. And we're not moving forward on, in which case, you really need to figure out what to do. The second thing is often points to ambiguity. So it's too big a task, you know, so for example, writing a book was not happening for me, until I said, Okay, I need to do a first draft by the beginning of November. And then suddenly, that was something I could do. And I broke it down. So I need to write you know, how many X words a day and suddenly that was something I could do. So if it's something that is about you've either got procrastination, for fear, because it's ambiguous and too big, and you don't know where to really start, or you procrastinate, because it's something that you should not actually be doing? You should be delegating it or actually just taking it off your list? And I think

Davina Stanley
You want to do it.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. And if you look at those three things, and you say, okay, am I procrastinating on this? Because it's a fear element, because it's an ambiguous and a big thing to bite off element. Or is it? Because I don't? Yeah. Is that how to do it? Or is it because I really don't want to be doing it. I shouldn't be doing it at this point in my life, and write down the things you procrastinating on and put them in the right category. So I'm going to ask you, what are you procrastinating on? Hello, it's Richard here with a quick interlude. These conversations are all about upgrading how you think about creating impact. So here's a resource to help you do just that. whilst staying fast and focused. The CEOs checklist for challenging times is a quick way to enhance your thinking and detect blind spots, even when things are moving incredibly fast. And you're not sure what's gonna happen next, you can get this powerful checklist of 17 World Class strategies by heading to x quadrant.com. Forward slash go forward slash challenging times checklist with a hyphen between each of those three last words. Now, back to the conversation.

Davina Stanley
Well, I had been procrastinating on something before you gave me a big nudge. And I got myself a social media person and a marketing person. So that was one thing that I've been sitting on for ages, which I've now unblocked. I'm procrastinating on delivering a brief to someone to do some analytics for me on my program effectiveness, because I've got to really sit down and think, you know, to write the brief properly, so I get the outcome that I want. But I'm aware that I have to get it done before Friday. So I best do it tomorrow morning. No. Yeah, well, firstly, matomo.

Richard Medcalf
So if it sounds it sounds like that's one where again, that sounds to me that there's a bit of that ambiguous kind of, I've got to rethink this. A bit brief. So what I'd say is, why don't you just go, I'm gonna write. I'm gonna spend 10 minutes writing down my, you know, my vomit draft. Just write down random stuff. In 10 minutes.

Davina Stanley
I'll get it done tomorrow morning. I'm just mindful. I'm just aware that it's I would have, in my mind, I would have liked to have done it sooner. But I know why it happened. I've been procrastinating because I've been busy. And to one of your earlier points. One of my team's been hospital for a while. You see. So I've had extra work. There's my excuse. is an excuse or a reason? I don't know.

Richard Medcalf
I think the size...

Davina Stanley
You can unpack that, Richard.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah.

Davina Stanley
What about you? So what have you been procrastinating on?

Richard Medcalf
Well, I mean, I try not to procrastinate on things. I really do. Try and focus on that. I suppose the thing that comes to mind is always something right. This thing comes to mind is actually thinking about holidays next year, actually, I think because last year, we really procrastinated and but just at the last minute, and it wasn't necessarily the best solution.

Davina Stanley
At least you've got holidays. So sometime last year, I think that might have been an effective strategy, given all the COVID Exactly, exactly. But it was probably fit for purpose.

Richard Medcalf
So probably it's probably he was fine. But I think that was something that I'd like to pay more attention on. Going forward. Let's move on the future. The future. So the question I have for the future is who do you want to be by the end of next year? Oh, I think it's interesting because we get so much into like what are the goals? Man, you know, I thought about this. And I thought, should we go for gold on my watch on number one goal or whatever? And that's all good. But I think, who do you want to be, by the end of next year for me earlier kind of creates this multifaceted thinking process, you know, is this about your character? You know, as a person? Is it like yours, that kind of your identity, your reputation, you know, how you're showing up in the day kind of opens up?

Davina Stanley
And is it? Is that your professional self? Is that part of yourself? Is it your personal self? Well, out of yourself, are you referring to as guests all of those things? Right?

Richard Medcalf
I think it's Yeah, I think you want to be right?

Davina Stanley
Well, that's a very appropriate one for the great reflection that seems to be going on. Right now in people just thinking, Well, what do I want? laughs being a bit different? How do I want to live my life? How do I want to be? So? Thanks a good one. It's a nice take on it. Not what do you want to achieve? But who do you want to be? Yeah, be at the end of the Richard.

Richard Medcalf
Try now let's get on the edge. That's fine. Um, I a few things that spring to mind. Right. I mean, there's like a surface level one, which isn't too far from the goals. Right. So it's like, well, you know, I would like to be a published author, you know? Yes, a plan. Right. So that's part of it, you know, you know, there's some business goals, I can kind of expand on in this kind of who I want to be, you know, and there's, there's also me, I think we, my family, you know, I want to be more patient, you know, in some parts of my family life, in situations where I'm not necessarily as patient as I want to be. And I think I'd like to be a bit more patient around around some of those areas. And, yeah, that's the two that coming to mind at the moment, I think. Yeah. Yeah, what about you?

Davina Stanley
Yeah, this is, this is like the first time I've had this question. So you've had a little bit more time to think, um, I don't quite know how to handle it. Because you know, behind the scenes is such a big change going on in my business right now. So I think I'll steer clear of that side of the equation for now, because it's a bit unsettled. But my broader business, I mean, but in terms of my personal life, we've got big transitions coming this year. So one of my boys is moving to New York in a few weeks time, he's 22. So this is a big move for him. We've lived there before, but still, it's a big deal. And my other son will start work, but they're both in the workforce this year. So he'll move out of home by the middle of the year. So I think there's this such big change in our family, I think what I want to be is, I don't know if I want to say the glue. But I want to be instrumental in shaping our family to have really good ongoing relationships in that new dynamic that we're going to have, you know, my husband and I are going to be I think empty nesters by the end of the year, you know, like, who were you Wow. Okay. So, you know, I'd like to be, you know, a really great wife and take our relationship, my share of our relationship to the next stage, whatever that looks like, I think that's quite exciting. So, and, you know, lifting parenting to that new phase, and there'll be an international phase. So, you know, being effective in that sort of maintaining those relationships, and being a great support to my younger son, as well, as he makes this big shift, I moved, made a very big move at 20. And it was enormously challenging. So I'm very aware of that. I want to be really a great support for him. In that.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, I think it's actually interesting. One thing you put up there is you can, when you start to put labels on actually, it's I think it's really helpful. So you say, you know, I want to be you come this, you know, supportive international mother, it kind of allows you to think about what is that, you know, what does that mean? Or I want, you know, I want to become this, you know, take my relationship to its next stage. Yeah. Again, it's helpful to think about, well, how are we going to impact that, like, what does it mean to be a, you know, empty nester wife and, you know, what that means in it, and I think it's, I often get my clients to do that, as I label the transition that you're in right now. So, you know, from operational leader to strategic leader, you know, you know, you know, there's something about you know, so I guess in my case, particularly the authorship Well, yeah, there's something about like putting something definitive, rather than tentative out there, right. In a sense, because it's, yeah, it's, it's the thing, you've created a thing and you've put your kind of your work out there. They have a kind of finished product in some sense. And so that's a That's a shift, right? Yeah, yeah. So there's there's a label, I could probably attach to that, right, that kind of that transition. I'm not quite sure what it is. But I think often fight coming up with what's that transition from A to B can actually really help you sharpen it up. Because that's, that's what you are, that helps you understand what's going to be different. Yes, right. Yeah. So just that I'm going to be moving from the, you know, the, yeah, whatever it is, you know, running the family to, you know, to being a, you know, being a romantic partner of my husband once again, which is a different shift. Right. So interesting.

Davina Stanley
It's a different a different phase and getting some clarity around that, you know, just asking the questions and labeling them, as you said, I think brings great clarity in itself, doesn't it? Yeah. It's really great questions, as usual, Richard.

Richard Medcalf
As usual, well, so that means if any more people ever want to list, they feel free to reach out and get in touch with me over social media, or email or whatever. And I'm happy to send a long list of questions that I would use in my own. My own planning and thinking, but it's one of these things where, I don't know where people can find the video can see it. This is my little snail that I have on my desk.

Davina Stanley
Why do you have a snail on your desk?

Richard Medcalf
I have a little snake. It's not a real snap, everybody. I know I live in France, but I'm not that bad. This is just a cuter snail and it's, it's to remind me to slow down to speed up and it just sits there and it reminds me, okay, what's the one thing I need to do right now and so slowing down in this period of Christmas, it's a great time to reflect slow down and to ask these questions and to take thinking time that we so rarely get in many cases.

Davina Stanley
Yes, sir. Absolutely. No, I agree with you. It's a really good time for that and in Australia, this crazy upside down Christmas, we get such a long break. It's our summer break. Yeah, we get a really good opportunity to do that. Actually, it feels a bit intense leading into it. Because you know, the world ends at Christmas. The holiday season, which you know, Europe, you have in July, August, you know, we have all of it at once. So it's a good, it's a good season for us to really reflect properly, I think.

Richard Medcalf
So, at that point, I think all is left is to you know, thank you, Davina for your partnership over the year and to thank all our listeners for tuning in and looking forward to the next year. So take these questions, take whatever questions you have and here's to another year of multiplying your impact.

Davina Stanley
Absolutely no wonderful to be part of it. Allbritton have thoroughly enjoyed it. So I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a really terrific New Year as we start again in 2022.

**Note: This transcript is automatically generated.
Please excuse any errors.

Beyond the podcast...

Once you've subscribed to the podcast, why not go deeper and subscribe to the Xquadrant Insider?

This is our complementary email newsletter that focuses on multiplying value and impact at the intersection of leadership, strategy and purpose.  Originally designed for our private clients, we've made this available to a wider audience of high-achieving and purpose-driven leaders.


More from The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast...

S12E03: How to free up hours each week for more strategic activity

S12E03: How to free up hours each week for more strategic activity

S12E02: The reason most people get stuck in the weeds

S12E02: The reason most people get stuck in the weeds

S12E01: Making time for strategy, and why it will change your world

S12E01: Making time for strategy, and why it will change your world

S11E02: David Allen, author of Getting Things Done

S11E02: David Allen, author of Getting Things Done

S11E01: The CEO Rolodex

S11E01: The CEO Rolodex

S10E04: From bankruptcy to hyper growth, with Chris Lee (CEO, Solgen Power)

S10E04: From bankruptcy to hyper growth, with Chris Lee (CEO, Solgen Power)
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>