Psychology for Business

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                                      the best in you and your employees

Vol.1, No.5                                                                                                                     December 29, 2000


by Lynda M. Dahlke, Ph.D.  Business Psychologist and Independent Consultant

What do you do to mark the end of one year and the beginning of a new one? For me it is a time of reflection 
and renewal.

Reflection (the “flatfish” part)

It is a symbolic time of year. The media, holiday tradition and habit encourage us to look at New Year’s Day 
differently than other days. 

I take the hint (and opportunity) to reflect on what happened throughout the last twelve months and also on 
figuring out ways to use what I have learned. I want to understand what works, what doesn’t work, what I need, what I enjoy and what I don’t enjoy. This is an example of my belief in continuous self-improvement or learning. 

Because we are human, we tend to repeat patterns of behavior-both productive and non-productive. Let’s use 
a favorite pastime of mine for a frame of reference. While fishing you must be patient, as well as flexible. If 
we repeatedly keep all variables the same (type of bait, location, time of day, weather, depth of the bait, etc.) and get poor results, most of us try to change some or all of the variables to get better results. However, if we have a great day and catch many fish, we try to replicate this experience and recreate the conditions present during our successful outing. 

Acknowledging that some variables are out of our control, we can enhance the likelihood of achieving desired 
results by doing what we can to approximate the desired conditions. 

That is…if a flatfish bait with a worm worked well last summer, we will probably try it again this summer, trying 
to create favorable conditions for success.

Be mindful of what works. Look at what approaches and actions were successful (or not) and evaluate why.

Renewal (the “champagne” part)

Resolution and Action

This time of year is known for making promises to ourselves regarding what we want to accomplish in the 
coming twelve months. These “resolutions” can be motivating and inspiring; they also have the potential to 
be demoralizing if we repeatedly fail to keep these resolutions. How can we enhance the likelihood of being 
successful in achieving our desired goals? There are several steps we can take.

1. “Plan your work and work your plan.” Write your goals down and use them as a map to guide your 
actions throughout the coming year.

2. Take the first step: engage in some ACTION. Don’t wait until your plan is foolproof and “perfect.” 
You may never start!

3. Build time into your schedule, (weekly if possible, at least monthly) to revisit your plan. Refine and 
revise measurable outcomes.

4. Start with small, achievable goals…you’ll be motivated to do larger ones next year.

5. Give yourself credit for achievements, no matter how small. We need positive encouragement to 
continue on our journeys. Celebrate even small successes. This is the “champagne” part.

So, as the New Year approaches take some time for reflection and renewal. What bait worked well for you this 
year? What successes are you toasting? It will be time well-spent as we move into another period of opportunity.

Best wishes for a great New Year from all of us at Psychology for Business!! 

About the Author

Lynda Dahlke, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist with over 20 years of experience working with individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds and levels of responsibility. She is able to deliver practical, action oriented assessment and guidance. Lynda specializes in pre-employment assessment, executive and managerial coaching, conflict management and organizational diagnostics/consulting.

Based in Waukesha, WI, Dr. Lynda Dahlke is available for consultation or coaching by phone, e-mail or in person. She may be reached at (262) 544-9918 (office), by e-mail at or:

Lynda Dahlke, Ph.D. 
Psychology for Business 
2717 North Grandview Boulevard, Suite 303
Waukesha, Wisconsin, 53188
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