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As Q4 approaches, which of the following is most challenging for you as a leader?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: As Q4 approaches, which of the following is most challenging for you as a leader?

  • Making the year and hitting this year’s goals: 30.3%
  • End-of-year reviews, promotions and reorganizations: 13.55%
  • Planning for next year: 37.93%
  • Keeping my people focused: 18.23%

Finish strong but prepare for the future. It seems folks are split between finishing the year and delivering the numbers versus getting ready for next year. Balancing the two is critical.¬†I’d argue that those of you so focused on delivering this year and not looking to next are taking risks you don’t realize you’re taking.¬†Deferring projects, investments, training, etc., seems like a good idea to make the year this year, but you’re giving up additional time you’d yield benefits from those investments. Beware of making a bad business decision because you’re trying to “hit” an arbitrary number you have the power to change.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”