New Year’s reSolutions: Plan for Growth

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 How Alex Lee’s SVP of HR & Innovation is setting goals to grow personally in 2015

NewYearsReSolutions_15_smallBy Robert Vipperman

I suppose I’ve always thought New Year’s resolutions were a gimmick—poorly conceived ambitions that a person put forth with no real self-analysis involved, nor any resolute intention to fulfill. But maybe I’ve just been ducking the opportunity to really commit to a plan for change. So, here goes. My resolutions for 2015 amount to a plan for accelerated personal growth.

Really Listen

Let’s start with what I used consider a real strength: Listening.  But I’ve grown lazy here. Too often in the past year, I’ve quickly responded to people and issues at hand with reflexive responses. Instead of taking that extra few seconds to work on deeply understanding the complexities and needs of those involved. Real listening is complicated, and active. A search for meaning and patterns and opportunities to find common ground. In the New Year, I will commit to a renewed focus on taking in diverse perspectives, and working to plot positive solutions.


I feel very fortunate to have a job that I like in a company I care about. I get to do what I love on a daily basis. But I need to stretch, and push beyond what has become familiar and comfortable. It’s easy to be confined by what I like (innovation, strategy, collaboration, chocolate) as well as what I don’t like (politics, schmoozing, administrivia, Brussel sprouts).

There’s a concept I remember from listening to Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind man to climb Mount Everest, speak that I need to employ: the idea that deliberately seeking out adversity is vital to accelerated growth. And if Erik could climb the seven highest summits in the world without the benefit of eyesight, surely I can push a bit more.
So next year, there will be a few goals, not yet crystallized, that need to difficult by their very design.


Ask for Help

This is not a natural act. Self-reliance is an adored ideal. But I keep reading compelling writings on the power of asking for help, from successful Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) to indie musicians like Amanda Palmer.

This growth plan isn’t going to work without it. I’ll need a coach in the workplace who knows my goals, strengths and weaknesses. I’ll talk to the CEO about it. Let’s see who he suggests. That alone should be interesting and possibly amusing.

I think I need to involve my wife here as well. Shouldn’t be too hard for her. She’s an accomplished corporate leader, and is smarter than I am anyway.

So, my usual cynicism now set aside, I’m committing to change and grow in the new year. Wish me luck. I’ll likely need it.



Robert Vipperman is Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Innovation at Alex Lee Inc. He was featured in Issue No. 5 of Forefront magazine.

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