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What’s your biggest concern going into the new year?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 220,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

What’s your biggest concern going into the new year?

  • Market forces affecting our business: 29.2%
  • Internal leadership challenges we face: 40.3%
  • Competitive dynamics: 11.9%
  • Social issues impacting our work: 11.1%
  • I don’t have any big concerns: 7.4%

We’re our own biggest problem. While market and competitive dynamics also present big concerns, it’s surprising that there are as many internal concerns as polled. For those who face internal issues, what are you doing right now to resolve those issues? Training? Development? Providing feedback? Reorganizing? For those concerned about the external challenges, are you putting contingency plans in place and assessing possible future outcomes? While it’s fine to be concerned about any of these issues, a leader’s job is to plan for the future and to work toward resolution. Let that be your New Year’s resolution.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”