On the Final Straight

With November’s passing it feels a little like we’ve rounded the last bend and are on the homeward straight, galloping towards the end of the year.

Summer is muscling its way in, with exuberant bursts of heat feeding into sudden, chill storms. Thoughts of balmier days waft through our minds with Christmas and holidays beckoning. It’s a time when most of us will take a break to spend time with friends and family and gather our breath before leaping aboard the 2018 express. The sense of anticipatory winding down is palpable around us.

That perception of slowing often gives rise to a pause for reflection, for contemplating what’s been achieved and what’s yet to be done. It’s a time to take stock and dream a little of how we might like 2018 to look.


It’s a good time to check progress against strategic goals. Some can be shifted to the completed list or abandoned altogether; work in progress can be assessed; we can check that our goals are still relevant; and consider the need to recognise achievement and achievers. A year-end review includes separating yourself from the business to access a bird’s-eye-view. It’s wise to disconnect yourself emotionally by approaching the process with objectivity, rather than fear and criticism. You can start by making a list of questions such as:

  • What were our achievements and how did they impact our growth?
  •  What did we learn in 2017 and how can we use it to support growth in 2018?
  • Did we have unexpected expenditures and how can we plan better next time?


The bank balance is a ready victim of holiday stress but a little preparation can smooth the way. Maintaining focus on debtor management is essential in the run up to end of year. Attention to holding debtors within terms in November will pay off in December and January. Understanding the holiday closure times of core clients can help identify potential payment hiccups. Shifting monthly account close-off times to suit the holiday season, with suitable explanation to clients, may also help.


It’s hard to stay focused on the job when the beach is calling and summer lassitude inclines us more to languid tea-break conversation and exchanging holiday experiences. Getting staff back on-task as soon as business resumes gives us a new-year competitive edge over others still bumbling through hiatus periods, where leave is allowed to disrupt productivity.

Be prepared for the return from holidays with a focus on reinstating momentum. A few short-term goals can make a difference and help regain a sense of progress. Check the holiday roster to forecast potential break-points due to leave absences.

Of course, that’s all about the science of management and planning – NKH Knight specialities – but hard to concentrate on when the colours of the spinnakers on the river are bleaching out with the sun glinting off the water…


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