7 critical actions to take in 2017 for the Cubicle Warrior

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Jan 03

For many years, I wrote about the x number of actions based on the years in the new year. But 17 actions to take seems a bit much, even for the best of New Year Resolution types.

This year is also different. Regardless of how you voted in last year’s election, this is the first time Republicans will have control of Congress, the Presidency, and, for all intents and purposes, the Supreme Court. So whether you like the changes coming or not, change is coming. And that means that, outside of your work, you need to pay attention to what is happening in your legislative halls.

With that preface, here are the 7 critical actions to take in 2017:

1. Have your radar go up on changes happening in your company

There is a reason the stock market is going up — especially in financials. It’s because the market is expecting far fewer regulations from a new administration and the ones that already exist to be severely watered down.

Usually when that happens, either consumers or employees get less protection.

That won’t happen in all companies, of course. But if your radar has been down because you are feeling safe in your workplace, it’s time to turn the radar back on and see what changes take place in your company. Then interpret what those changes mean to you as it relates to how long your job will last.

2. Have your radar on your personal world up for the same reasons

The Republicans have made it no secret that they intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Regardless of how they do it, there will be big changes in how the individual insurance marketplace is handled. It could also mean Medicaid in the states will significantly change as well.

Employer insurance will also likely change — most likely because the ACA requires policies to have specific, named coverages and requirements and those requirements will most likely go away with a repeal.

For those close to 65, there is talk of Medicare going away and being replaced by private insurance with subsidies…that probably won’t cover as much as Medicare does today.

We don’t know, of course, what will happen. We’ll have to wait. But your radar should be up on changes that could impact your personal life.

3. Save more money

This is purely a defensive posture. It’s good to pay down debt, of course. And it is good to understand how to budget your money. I’m a big believer in You Need a Budget (YNAB — why nab — for short) as it provides a logical, rules based way to budget your funds without that ‘budget’ feeling.

But saving money is a big deal. If things start to change at work or in your personal life, nothing keeps the nerves tamped down like an extra month or three of take home savings in the bank.

4. Work on what you can control

It’s easy to go off worrying about a lot of rabbit holes. But if you have no control over the event, there isn’t much you can do about it — worrying makes you feel more helpless. It starts a vicious cycle of worry, inaction, bad things happening because of your inaction, which causes more worry. Or something close to that. Instead, work on what you can control.

What can you control? Your work quality and output. How you handle relationships. What actions your can take toward your goals. Doing these seven things. Get very focused on what you can control and then doing what you can control.

5. Update your resume

This one is the only repeat from my previous year’s advice. In most companies, your annual review is done or you’ve at least written your self-review. You have all of the best data you have for 2016. Get it all in the resume so that it is documented and you have any supporting documents in your personal files. You may not need the data for months or years, but there is nothing more frustrating than trying to reconstruct what you did in 2016 in 2018 when you desperately need it.

So update your resume. And get it on your personal assets, not your corporate one that you don’t own and don’t control.

6. Update your personal goals for 2017

The personal frustrating thing for me is that I went back to my 2016 goals and realized I didn’t really accomplish any of them. And the worst part? I reread the title and the goals weren’t for 2016 — they were for 2015.

No personal goals achieved for Scot in 2016. For the first time, I’ve set a mantra with my goals. It’s this: plan less, DO more. We get caught up in the accomplishments at work and too often forget about what it takes to accomplish at home.

I don’t know the right number of goals, how big they should be, or what they should be. Whatever they are, execution needs to rule. At least with me 🙂

7. My experiment: use 12-week years to focus and accomplish more

The concept is this: yearly goals are too hard to hit. You lose focus, there is a lack of urgency. I mean, how often have you hit your personal yearly goals? Like never for me.

The book, The 12 Week Year, by Brian P. Moran, introduces the idea that a quarter is a good time frame for goals. It’s long enough to get a lot accomplished, but short enough to understand that missing a week getting to your goal will make it tough to meet it. The 12-week time frame creates focus and urgency.

I’m going to do this approach this year and see how much more I can get done. You try it too and see if it makes a difference.

I wish you all the very best for 2017. And if you need some help updating your resume, consider upgrading the first page of your resume by signing up for my video series on the killer first page of the resume.


  • Awesome post Scot. Indeed, times ahead are interesting, and people should be the proverbial ants and save up instead of being grasshoppers.

    I agree whole heartedly with you on the 12 Week Year concept. I have set targets, not for 2017, but for the 1st quarter. Annual targets make us feel like we plenty of time. Quarterly targets keep us on our toes throughout.

    Hope you hit your targets, and I hit mine.

    Happy 2017.

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