Families are wonderful. They set the foundation for how we should act and when. We then call these actions traditions. Except, things change.
When I grew up, we opened presents from immediate family members on Christmas Eve. Then, on Christmas morning, we discovered the delightful gifts Santa had left for us unwrapped under the tree. To this day, as an adult with my own children, we still spend Christmas Eve at my parents’ house. Except, it will just be my mother’s house this year – our first without my father, who died earlier this year.
I started a tradition a few years ago, but I let it lapse. I will initiate it again this year – lighting a blue candle for my father, and for all those who have died whom I want to take a moment to remember. With my children and mother now involved in the new tradition, it should continue year after year.
This happens in our businesses as well. I learned that a seasoned employee was telling a new employee, “that is how we have always done it,” regardless that I had expressed a new way I wanted it done. A new tradition? A new procedure that becomes tradition, until it needs to change.
The five lessons I have learned from our Christmas traditions that I can use in my business are:
- Each year, review the traditions/processes you want to keep and those you want to change due to different circumstances. (I want to continue going to my mom’s house on Christmas Eve, but now I do Christmas day at my house with my children. Keep doing retail seminars, but begin doing prospective client workshops too).
- Determine if new traditions/processes should be added to the existing ones. (Add our “Blue Christmas” moments. Add sending an “it was great seeing you” card each week to a new person or client you met.)
- Don’t change just to change – keep what is working for you and continue to celebrate its benefits. (Keep extended family traditions while creating new ones with new family. Keep calling our clients three days after our initial meeting, just to check in.)
- Put measures in place for accountability. (Enroll my children and mother in the Blue Christmas ritual. Enroll your firm team members in the new process – I have just enlisted my office administrator to ensure that we set aside a certain percentage of gross revenue for savings each week.)
- Enjoy the traditions/processes and remember what it is really all about, for you personally and for those you love.
Victoria L. Collier is a Veteran and Certified Elder Law Attorney, Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Co-Founder of Lawyers With Purpose LLC, and author of “47 Secret Veterans’ Benefits for Seniors—Benefits You Have Earned … but Don’t Know About.”