2 min read

The New Year is the Middle of the Cycle

End of the Year, yet, Middle of the Road

The holidays can arguably be considered one of the best times of year! But they also represent a point that is the middle-of-the-road in admissions.

The days leading up to the break are usually jam-packed and chaotic. There are application reviews, senior-level meetings, in-house processing mishaps and the day-to-day office grind. Although there was plenty to do, some of the staff probably shifted into break mode before it even began.

Vacation flew by, and now you’re back in the office. If your team seems a little sluggish, here are two ideas to shake-off post-holiday slow-downs.

Conduct a Mid-Year Retreat
If you aren’t already doing this, press pause on the frantic pace and conduct a mid-year retreat. Take a day (or a half-day) to create a snapshot of the recruitment season. No, this isn’t another “to-do” mark on your checklist. It’s really a group project. Each counselor would be responsible for providing a brief review of his/her territory. This gives each teammate a sense of ownership. It’s also a great way for first-year counselors to hear from others, share ways to improve travel, and, more importantly, begin the process of learning how to decipher data. Those extended morning chats can now become data driven!

Use this time to have an open discussion. You can address hard conversations head-on. What has worked? What needs revision? What needs reconsideration? These concerns often relate to office programming and structure. It will allow you to facilitate dialogue, encourage solutions and stop the complaining. Teams are enhanced when people are heard while feeling empowered to provide suggestions. The responsibility falls on everyone.

This event also serves as an opportunity to recognize staff members’ accomplishments (such as presentations selected for conferences, graduations, engagements, marriages, etc.).

Set goals and not resolutions! Encourage staff to think about how they’ll win in the coming year. Choose an accountability partner and share your goals with them. One goal framework is the “3-2-1 Punch!”

  • Write three goals for the first month upon returning.
  • Write two goals for the semester.
  • Write one goal for the calendar year.

The goals are usually programmatically or territory-related. The “goal of the year” can be a personal one, such as getting into grad school, presenting at a conference, or successfully leading a campus program for the first time. This big goal often focuses on professional development.

As the year progresses, bring up the 3-2-1 Punch! during staff meetings to keep people focused on progress and celebrate wins. Recruiting life influences our inner-competitor, and people like winning. When they’re winning because they’re challenging themselves and the team is rooting them on, it creates a situation where everyone benefits.

The holiday break gave you time to recap, rethink and recharge. Now, 2018 is here, and you’re ready to go. Here’s to a great year ahead, and success in achieving your goals.