On December 31 each year, instead of setting resolutions, I set a theme for the following year.
And for 2016 it is nothing new.
That’s my theme: “Nothing New.” This year I won’t be doing anything new.
Some of you reading this might be thinking, “Huh??? I thought you were Mr. Innovation. Nothing new. Really?”
Yes, this may seem odd, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Let me explain.
Each year I…
- take personal and professional development classes, hoping that the next one I attend will provide the silver bullet I am looking for.
- start new projects, believing that one of them will cause my business to skyrocket.
- take on new business partners, thinking that they will takes things to a whole new level.
- develop a lot of new ideas, assuming one of them will put my name on the map.
However, my challenge is not the idea. My challenge is the implementation and exploitation of those ideas; extracting the maximum value possible.
So this year is all about “nothing new.”
No New Projects
I won’t be taking any new classes (I already have binders and binders of ideas from past conferences). I won’t be signing on any new business partners (I already have a very solid group of business partners). I won’t be taking on any new projects (I already have a list of projects that could take me 3 years to complete).
So, if it’s not already on my list of initiatives that I developed a couple of months ago, I will not be doing it in 2016. Nothing new goes on the list.
People often ask if I’m writing a new book. Not this year. I haven’t fully leveraged all of the intellectual property from my two most recent books – Personality Poker and Best Practices Are Stupid. 2016 will be all about going deeper into my existing content rather than creating new content.
2016 is the year of implementation.
I am going to take everything I’ve done in the past and either:
- Finish it (if it’s in progress)
- Start it (if it’s on the list but not underway)
- Exploit it (if it’s completed but not producing the value I want)
- Kill it (if I can’t find a way to extract the desired value; sunk costs can’t drive future investments)
No New Purchases
Nothing new also means not buying anything new.
I get seduced by new technology. But unless it is really a game changer, there won’t be any new toys for me in 2016.
I have a big box of magic tricks that I haven’t mastered, yet I keep buying more. Not this year. Time to master what I already have.
Although I have so many great books on my Kindle that are unread, I keep buying new ones. And I have at hundreds of hours of audio books on my iPhone that I’ve not listened to.
I already have everything I could want. Time to enjoy what I already have.
Nothing New = Innovation
You may wonder how a person who advocates innovation can also advocate doing nothing new.
Innovation is not the same as newness.
Innovation is about creating value. It is about implementation. It is about producing results. In many cases, innovation is created by leveraging something you already have in your arsenal.
Some innovators (including yours truly) are easily distracted by bright shiny objects. This is one of the enemies of innovation. Following through and extracting value is critical.
So although this is the year of nothing new, it is also really the year of innovation. Making things happen that may have been languishing. Killing off ideas that aren’t producing the results I want. Maximizing the value I get from my past investments. These are cornerstones of innovation.
So here’s to 2016. The year of nothing new. The year of innovation! Happy New Year!
P.S. If you want to read more about New Year’s Themes, please check out my Wall Street Journal article on the topic.
P.P.S. Themes are “guides” not “rules.” Of course if a great opportunity appears, I will consider it and evaluate it. I just want to make sure that I am not taking on distractions masquerading as opportunities.
P.P.P.S. I am certainly innovating! I have 30 years of ideas and relationships I can nurture. And many of my innovations this year aren’t incremental; some are game-changing. But I never took the time to implement them because I was so distracted by new “opportunities.”