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Happy Fourth Quarter! And if you’re a leader who works with anyone who sells almost anything than you know that 4th quarter is crunch time! If your fiscal year ends on that last day of December then you also know, now is the time to make up for any losses you’ve experienced earlier in the year and make the most of the busiest buying season of the year for many industries. Even if you aren’t in sales, however, 4th quarter or that last 3 months of the year, can have its own unique set of challenges, including how to keep the entire staff from mentally checking out from November 15th on. So, here are 7 secrets you as the leader can employ to ensure a successful final quarter of the year.

Create specific goals just for the next 3 months.

Avoid the temptation to rely on the goals you’ve had all year. Make goals just for October through December and challenge employees to meet them, giving them something new and fresh to focus on.

Clarify Your Expectations.

Much like you wouldn’t leave a spouse to believe that the “I love you” from a year ago, still held true now even if you didn’t say it, you can’t really expect employees to remember all of your expectations if you don’t revisit them or re-share them every so often. Now is a good time to proactively re-share.

Provide Special Incentives.

In light of the specific goals you may share, maybe the 4th quarter is the right time to amp up the rewards for meeting those goals. What kinds of rewards can you share that are creative or special or holiday oriented that might tie in with the holidays or be more than what you might normally share?

Take Note of All Holidays.

In a country that rampantly recognizes Christmas as “the” national holiday, remember there are others in your employee and customer base who have different holidays that are special and worthy of making note of. If you have Canadian customers, their Thanksgiving is on a different date than the one America celebrates (and no, it did not involve pilgrims and Indians). If you have employees or customers who are Jewish, recognize that they may not relate to the feeling of setting up the Christmas tree and how you need Friday off to share that time with your family.

Give Gifts Early.

If in your office, you share gifts with those you lead in an effort to share in holiday celebrations, share them early in the season so that they can be enjoyed for longer periods of time. For example, if you give restaurant gift cards, share them in November so that employees can take family members to dinner over the holidays.

Share a Little Leniency.

Stress during the holiday season runs high. Whether you have family in or no family around or gifts to buy or no one you think deserves a gift, a tree, or a menorah, the general hustle and bustle of the holiday season creates more stress than much of the rest of year combined. Recognize that stress often induces negative reactions and this may not be the time to be super strict on every behavioral expectation.

Celebrate a Great Year by Appreciating a Great Team.

Chances are you could not have gotten the results you did this year without that amazing team you lead. Now is the time to celebrate a great year of contributions, great stories, learning points, or even great results and appreciate the team who helped you achieve them.

Leadership at any time of year is about the people you lead. How can you make this year end on such a high note that they’ll be renewed, refreshed, and eager to go at full speed again in January?
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